Letter to the Editor: Rainbow Peace Flag project expands into Dot, Mattapan

A Rainbow Peace Flag flies from the porch of a neighborhood home. Photo courtesy Betsy Boggia

To the Editor:

I am writing to draw your attention to an important movement a small but mighty group of local residents is launching in partnership with community-based organizations, businesses, and houses of worship.

It is called the City Peace Project, part of the Rainbow Peace Flag Project. Our goal is to distribute and display rainbow peace flags throughout Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan beginning on September 21, the International Day of Peace.

The Rainbow Peace Flag has been referred to as “a flag that symbolizes a growing movement of solidarity, inclusion, kindness, and peace” and efforts to promote it have gained momentum. Since 2016, more than 16,000 flags have been distributed. They are given free to any and all who want them.

The Rainbow Peace Flag Project seeks to extend kindness and caring across national borders, with love that includes people of all sexualities, genders, abilities, religions, races, and cultures, and to condemn acts of violence and hatred, embracing peaceful dialogue instead.

In 2019, the flag was redesigned to include four skin tone stripes representing the rainbow of humanity; to change the letters from white to black in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; and to put all the colors side by side as a symbolic move away from hierarchy and toward equality.

Our local effort is known as the City Peace Project. The unfortunate uptick in violence we are seeing in some neighborhoods, due in part to the stress and trauma of Covid-19 among other things, and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, compels us to find a way of demonstrating the concern and care we share for one another.

Imagine the message that will be sent, seeing these flags throughout communities that are often impacted the most by violence and trauma, and which, unfortunately, are too often defined by these acts. While a flag cannot prevent violence or solve the underlying issues, it can certainly send a message of love and compassion that is often so hard to envision and promote and serve as an important reminder of our collective humanity. 

The plan is to distribute as many flags as possible throughout Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan ahead of Sept. 21 to all who want to display or promote them, with the flags being available on a continual basis afterward. Businesses and organizations that have an open location can be provided a display to give them away, and all are encouraged to fly the flag themselves.

Donations are accepted for those who would like to provide financial support, but a donation is not required to receive a flag or flag display. Requests for flags are already coming in, and an effort is being launched to have the flag flown on City Hall Plaza on Sept. 21.

This is an ambitious effort and we welcome all who would like to volunteer to help package, distribute, promote, display, and share their story of why this symbol is important for them, their family, loved ones, or community.

Request for flags or offers to volunteer can be sent to citypeaceproject@gmail.com. Donations can be made at secure.givelively.org.

Betsy Boggia