The Space Needle at Seattle Center made history last year when, for the first time in the iconic building’s 50 year history, it flew the rainbow Pride flag during Seattle Pride weekend. The flying of the flag for the first time in Seattle history was viewed as act of both corporate and community support of the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
But the Needle caught some flack this month after rumors circulated that the organization did not plan to raise the flag again this year, catching the attention of national progressive organization Change.org, as well as a number of local and national media outlets. With Seattle Pride fast approaching at the end of the month, many in the community spoke out, urging the Needle to again raise the flag.
After an outpouring of support for the flag over the last two weeks, the Space Needle changed its stance this week, announcing that it would raise the flag again, if the greater Seattle community agreed to take on a fundraising challenge: “If the community can raise $50,000 for 4 local charities, the Space Needle will raise the Rainbow Flag on Sunday of Seattle Pride weekend in Seattle,” the Needle wrote in a press release Monday (.pdf).
“We want to harness the enthusiasm that has built up to raise the flag for the encore performance. Our entire community gets involved in whatever issue is at hand and we think that is what makes us so strong. This challenge can reap great benefits for these worthwhile organizations,” said Space Needle LLC Chairman Jeff Wright in the statement.
The $50,000 raised, assuming the challenge is met, will be divided equally between four local charities: The Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) Scholarship Program, Lambda Legal, It Gets Better for the Trevor Project and Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter for women and children. The Space Needle has kicked off the challenge by offering an inaugural donation of $5,000. From the press release:
The Rainbow Flag, flown last year on the Space Needle, will lead the Seattle Pride Parade this year and, if the community challenge is met, it will be raised on the Space Needle when the Parade ends at Seattle Center on Sunday, June 26th. The Seattle Parade has grown in stature for several years now and holds a prominent position on the national scene.
Seattle Out and Proud, the organization behind Seattle Pride weekend, has already responded to the Space Needle’s challenge, partnering with the organization to help raise the funds. [Read more →]