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City Council opens submissions for flag redesign

The City of Hyattsville’s current flag

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Posted on: June 6, 2024


The City of Hyattsville is considering redesigning its current flag. The city council has formed a flag redesign committee and invited community members to submit designs to establish the symbol of Hyattsville for decades to come.

Hyattsville’s current flag, designed nearly 50 years ago, features a light blue background, four stars, and the city’s seal. These design choices do not meet standards set by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) and, more importantly, remain absent of any iconic symbols or imagery of the Hyattsville community.

Ward 3 councilmember and vexillology enthusiast Jimmy McClellan was inspired by the pride displayed in the Maryland flag. He said that when he moved to the city in 2019, he felt there was a need for more attention to the city flag and wanted to address it.

“We have a flag that flies at our city building, but it’s not something that many people know about. It’s definitely not something that’s hanging out in front of houses, like the American or Maryland flag is,” McClellan said.

McClellan proposed a motion to begin the redesign process in February. In April, the council formed a volunteer committee of seven Hyattsville community members to help.

The motion comes amid a wave of flag changes across the country. In recent years, states such as Mississippi, Minnesota and Utah, as well as cities like Salem, Ore.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Reno, Nev., have adopted new flags. McClellan points out that these flags have unique, meaningful designs without words or complex imagery.

Until June 30, community members can submit proposed flag designs in person through drop boxes at Hyattsville Branch Library and Driskell Park or virtually on the city website. Designs must follow NAVA guidelines: simple, meaningful, distinctive from other flags, consists of only two to three colors and omits seals or other lettering.

Sam Jackson, a member of the redesign committee and NAVA, expressed the importance of finding the balance between adhering to NAVA guidelines and properly representing the community.

“We want to leave it as open-ended as we can, while still having some guidelines to help people ensure we’re submitting designs that are up to par with best practice,” Jackson said.

After the June 30 deadline, the redesign committee will deliberate over the designs, picking out elements that work and those that could be improved. The committee will present finalist flags for community feedback and revision by August. According to McClellan, the city council will vote on a final design in October and celebrate the new flag between late fall and early spring, with souvenir flags for the community to display.

“We want people to fly it off their porch, have stickers on their cars and water bottles, and maybe even have a tattoo on their arm,” Jackson said.

McClellan and Jackson noted that, thus far, the submissions have showcased Hyattsville’s rich tapestry, featuring its iconic landmarks, waterways, diverse cultures, cuisine and arts scene. Some submissions have even incorporated design choices of the widely paraded Maryland flag.

“This is really not just going to be a flag that represents our government- but represents the people of our community,” McClellan said. “We’re moving forward with redesigning it to make sure that it represents our people, our history and the land that we live on.”

Razak Diallo is an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Maryland.



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