White House postpones South Lawn Pride event because of Canadian wildfire smoke enveloping DC

DC air quality is ‘very unhealthy for all due to ongoing smoke from fires in Canada,’ Washington Metro Council says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 08 June 2023 15:07 EDT

Related video: History of Pride Month

The White House has postponed a Pride event set to take place on the South Lawn because of the smoke from the wildfires in Canada enveloping the nation’s capital.

The event that was scheduled for Thursday is now planned for Saturday. It’s set to be the largest Pride Month celebration in White House history as the Biden administration attempts to push back against the Republican Party’s measures to restrict the rights of the LGBT+ community on the state level.

If the hope of an improvement in the air quality in Washington, DC transpires, the event will see thousands of attendees for a celebration of LGBT+ families featuring singer Betty Who and DJ Queen HD from Baltimore, according to Reuters.

“Today’s Pride event on the White House South Lawn will be postponed until Saturday based on the projected air quality in the region,” the White House said.

Ahead of the planned event on Thursday, the administration announced new measures to protect LGBT+ communities.

A plane passes in front of the sun on a hazy evening as smoke from wildfires in Canada cause hazy conditions in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2023

“Over a dozen states have enacted anti-LGBTQI+ laws that violate our most basic values and freedoms as Americans, and are cruel and callous to our kids, our neighbors, and those in our community,” the White House said.

The measures include the launch of an “LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership,” with the White House announcing that the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division will be the liaison to the community.

The administration is also working to strengthen “mental health resources for LGBTQI+ youth, launching a new federal initiative to address LGBTQI+ youth homelessness, releasing federal funding to support programs that help parents affirm their LGBTQI+ kids, and advancing new regulations to protect LGBTQI+ youth in foster care”.

“The Department of Education will appoint a new coordinator to address the growing threat that book bans pose for the civil rights of students,” the administration said.

Members of the US Marine Corps rehearse in hazy smoke for the Sunset Parade at the Lincoln Memorial on June 8, 2023 in Washington, DC

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments tweeted on Thursday that “current air quality in the DC region is Code Purple, very unhealthy for all due to ongoing smoke from fires in Canada”.

The council added that the region “has not previously recorded a Code Purple day for fine particle pollution, the type of air pollution we are currently experiencing,” and urged residents to reschedule outdoor activities or move them indoors.

Tourists walk around the base of the Washington Monument as wildfire smoke casts a haze of the US Capitol on the National Mall on June 07, 2023 in Washington, DC

The smoke settled over the US capital after moving down from the more than 100 wildfires in eastern Canada, with a low-pressure area off the east coast moving the winds in the direction of DC, according to WUSA9.

The Capital Weather Gang tweeted: “How long will the wildfire smoke last? Unfortunately, may hang around into this evening and be bad again on Friday morning in the DC area.”

The office of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the issue “is likely to continue or worsen through Friday”.

The city’s Major League Baseball team, the Washington Nationals, cancelled their game on Thursday and the National Zoo closed its doors for the day.

Some residents wore masks for their outdoor errands and families who may walk to school organized carpools to limit their time outside. At the Walmart on Georgia Avenue in DC, the shelves for air purifiers were almost empty on Wednesday evening, according to The Washington Post.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in