Pride Flag

Thumbs up to the dozens of Lynchburg residents who did their civic duty to attend a City Council meeting earlier this month to give their elected representatives their opinions about the city’s proposed budget.

It may not sound like much, but one of the most important duties of a citizen is to be informed about his government and the issues it faces and to be willing to confront government and his elected representatives when the need arises.

The April 2 council meeting was such an occasion. On the agenda was a public hearing for the $408 million budget City Manager Bonnie Svrcek has proposed for fiscal year 2020. More than a dozen Lynchburgers addressed council, while many more were in the audience to show their support for one agency and department or the other.

Advocates for Lynchburg City Schools were on hand to make the case for the request from Superintendent Crystal Edwards and the School Board for an additional $1.6 million for teacher pay increases and the implementation of a city salary study. Backers of the city museum system pressed their case against a $12,000 cut that would shutter the city’s museums for one day each week, while representatives of the Bridges to Progress committee made their case for restoration of $50,000 cut from their efforts to reduce poverty in the city. Backers of the Lynchburg Fire Department urged council to do its utmost to increase support for the department, specifically higher pay to increase retention of trained firefighters.

This is how government in a democratic republic is supposed to work, and we’re proud of the residents exercising their civic duty. If more people were as involved at all levels of government, this nation would be in much better shape than it is.

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Thumbs up to the organizers of Hill City Pride, scheduled for today from noon to 5 p.m. at City Stadium. The event is being pulled together by Spectrum Arts Society and Josh Cline, the group’s managing director.

As Cline puts it, the main purpose of Hill City Pride is simple: “[T]o demonstrate it’s OK for people to be themselves right at home and to highlight for the LGBT community that there are plenty of allies right here at home.”

The free event will feature a wide range of entertainment from local jazz groups to nationally known drag queen acts from New York City. A number of organizations dedicated to working for the civil rights of the LGBT community will also be on hand: the Human Rights Campaign, the Lynchburg Diversity Center and Free Mom Hugs.

According to Cline, Hill City Pride was scheduled for May to make it easy for area college students to attend. Pride Month will still be observed in June.

Show your support for the LGBT community of Central Virginia.

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