June is Pride Month, a celebration of the LGBTQ community's dignity, equality, and unabashed self-pride. The monthlong celebration recognizes the impact that LGBTQ individuals have had on history — locally, nationally, and around the world.
We sat down with at-large City Council Member Jonathan Melton to hear his vision for a more inclusive Raleigh. Joining the City Council in 2019, he was the first openly LGBTQ person elected citywide in Raleigh.
What does it mean for Raleigh to have a diverse council?
Visibility is very important. Raleigh is a diverse and progressive city. It’s important to have a City Council that reflects the dynamics of the city.
What are your priorities for the people of Raleigh?
I’m working to build a “15-minute” city that is dense, walkable, and less car-dependent.
My priorities also include affordable housing and housing affordability to create more housing options including missing middle housing; investing in alternative transportation and transit improvements, including fare-free transit; more bus shelters and benches; increased frequency and Bus Rapid Transit; placing goods and services closer to where people are; addressing food deserts; and creating more people-oriented spaces.
What would you like to see for the future?
I hope to see continued acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ community, particularly our trans brothers and sisters and queer people of color. I hope we continue to embrace new technology, invest in healthy, vibrant communities — where everyone can earn a livable wage and find a safe, affordable place to live — and focus on becoming a less car-dependent city.
The City of Raleigh aims to foster an inclusive environment where people of all backgrounds feel safe, respected, and represented. To learn more, visit the LGBTQ Resources page.