A Look Into the Rainbow Peace Flag Project

Mary Stevenson, Staff Writer

Amid a global pandemic and a contentious presidential election, there is a lot of negativity surrounding not only Scituate but the whole world. Luckily, there is also a source of positivity growing within our local community: The Rainbow Peace Flag Project. Created by a group of people at Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, MA, who seek to condemn acts of violence and embrace peace, the mission statement for this project states, “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.” 

The project’s flag, which was designed by Virginia Fitzgerald, features a rainbow of colors emblazoned with the word “Peace.” Distribution of the flag is a widespread effort; however, it is being locally promoted by SHS junior Abigail Spires and her mother, Kimberly Spires. Intended to create unity between the community and Scituate High School, the main purpose of promoting the flag and the project is to “spread our mission statement to the community,” stated Abigail. The mission statement encompasses what is needed not only in the town of Scituate but throughout the world.

The flag itself serves as an essential piece of the project, as Mrs. Spires explained: “The flag is a symbol and reminder for everybody to continue to always spread kindness.” For Scituate High School, in particular, Abigail emphasized why this project is so important: “Following some racist incidents in our school that deeply impacted members of our community…the project was to incorporate the peace flag into our community just because I feel like we needed some of that uplifting given the incidents.” 

While driving through Scituate and many other towns around the South Shore, you are likely to see the peace flag, which shows how many people support this project and all that it stands for. When seeing the flags, many can relate to Abigail when she says, “It makes me feel good that other people believe in what I believe in.” 

Abigail had the opportunity to deliver a flag to Scituate Public Schools Superintendent William Burkhead, which he accepted with great joy. Superintendent Burkhead said, “It is proudly hanging in my office right away,” adding, “it brings light to my day each day when I come…it was a gift from a student, for a great cause, so that’s really inspirational to me.” Sharing the same feelings of appreciation and gratitude for the project, Burkhead commented, “I absolutely love it–it’s just what we needed…at a time where there is a lot of division in our country and our towns and our schools and maybe in our homes.”

Burkhead explained, “One of my favorite phrases is ‘enthusiasm is free’ [because] it doesn’t cost you anything and it’s contagious,” adding, “I hope our students get behind this, and staff one hundred percent, and that we can be the example for other towns as leaders–I want Scituate to be leaders.” 

Other SPS educators share these same feelings, including SHS adjustment counselor Jennifer Lopes. Describing why she hung the flag in her office, Lopes said, “Obviously, I want to make my space kind of open and affirming to everybody. I’ve heard from students that certain symbols can be a welcoming, inviting kind of thing for them, so that’s why I did it.” 

When asked about the response she’s received, Lopes said, “I get a lot of positive feedback, I would say from people in the community, like people that aren’t even work-related that just think, what a nice, positive message that is to send.” Lopes explained, “I love it, anything that is inclusive, and promoting peace, and belonging, and anything that can be a positive addition to our community is a gift, I think, so I am super grateful for that.”

The Rainbow Peace Flag Project is now introducing stickers and magnets with the same design as the flag. If you are interested in the project and would like to own a flag of your own, anyone is welcome to order a peace flag online or, if you attend Scituate High School, you can pick up a flag near the front office.

To learn more about the project, view the website https://commonstreet.org/rainbow-peace-flag-project/ or listen to the Apple podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/flag-that-symbolizes-growing-movement-solidarity-inclusion/id1508054835?i=1000478483050&fbclid=IwAR25l2PpeC6fMPS8bEf52FfyeuujjVxLkrvho3qoUmbJ9KQfUX8rV5N_2Ec