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.
“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.
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.
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.
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