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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Pride Flag Raised, Then Lowered To Half-Staff At Washington Capitol

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Austin Jenkins
/
Northwest News Network
Members of Olympia's LGBT community hold up letters spelling ORLANDO at a flag raising event at the Washington state Capitol.

The rainbow pride flag was raised over the Washington state Capitol Wednesday. It was then immediately lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando.

Members of Olympia’s LGBT community, state employees and many others gathered on the steps of the state Capitol. At the base of the steps a small group held up rainbow painted wooden letters that read: ORLANDO.

“Normally we use our letters to spell out OLYPRIDE, as you can see from our banner, but we felt that we wanted to send a message of solidarity to Orlando,” Capital City Pride President Anna Schlecht said.

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Schlecht said this year’s gathering, which starts Friday, will be different.

“I think that we’re going to have people who are sobbing, crying, people who are laughing and dancing and everything in between,” she said.

Gov. Jay Inslee led the flag-raising ceremony.

“We’re raising the pride flag in the state of Washington both out of conviction and compassion,” he said.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."