The banner hanging in the center of Carmel and the rainbow lights on the historic courthouse this past week are the first public recognition of Pride Month that the Putnam County government has ever given us. I thank the county for accommodating our request, but it’s 2020, and it’s not enough — this is symbolism and we need substance.
The county legislators approved the symbols but didn’t show up for a joint Black Live Matters/Pride Month rally and march on June 22. I invited all of the legislators and County Executive MaryEllen Odell, and received no responses except from Odell, who I was told could not make it, and from Legislator Nancy Montgomery of Philipstown, who said she was disappointed she could not attend because she was traveling but sent someone to read a statement on her behalf.
Legislator Paul Jonke of Southeast went out of his way to present me with two Pride flags but made no effort to be at the event. The county has made virtually no statement about racial justice in the wake of the George Floyd murder and its leaders no effort to attend the many events being organized. It’s worrisome, and I hope they will start responding to the increasingly vocal concerns of their constituents.
Eileen McDermott, Brewster
McDermott is an organizer of Putnam Pride.