The chairman of the Omaha Public Power District board said Thursday that the utility’s decision to fly the rainbow flag during June for LGBTQ Pride Month elicited an overwhelmingly positive response, despite some criticism.
“From a board member’s perspective, there was a little bit of an organized effort to push back on it,” Craig Moody said. “My understanding, however, is that by and large, there has been overwhelmingly positive feedback.”
OPPD joined the City of Omaha, Mutual of Omaha, Union Pacific Railroad and Bank of the West as some of the major local entities showing support for the LGBTQ community in June by displaying the flag. Rainbow flags were displayed at multiple OPPD locations, Moody said.
Carrie Murphy, a spokeswoman for Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, said a few calls about the city’s display of the flag came into the Mayor’s Hotline, “most against.”
The hotline staff estimated that they received fewer than 10 calls on the topic, she said.
Earlier this week on his Twitter account, Moody responded to some of the negative criticism he had been receiving.
“The more bigoted, hateful emails I get opposing @OPPDCares flying of the Rainbow flag, the more I’m gonna double down on it,” he wrote. “Y’all know you’re demonstrating why such an action is important and necessary, right? Thanks for the affirmation. #Pride.”
Every year, during the month of June, the LGBTQ community celebrates in a number of ways. Across the globe, events are held as a way of recognizing the influence LGBTQ people have in their communities. June was chosen because it’s when the Stonewall riots took place in New York City in 1969 following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village.
OPPD’s decision to support Pride Month came after a request from an employee LGBTQ group, Moody said. The company, he said, also demonstrates its support for other employee groups such as veterans, African Americans, women and young professionals.
Andy Halperin with Mutual of Omaha said the response to the company’s flying of the Pride flag “has been very positive, both with our associates and on social media.”
Raquel Espinoza, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific, said that almost all the feedback the company has received about its rainbow flag has been positive.
“We hope others will join us in making our city an inclusive place for everyone,” she said.