Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says the unveiling of a rainbow-coloured crosswalk near Bayside Middle School sends an important signal of support for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
“They are just symbols, but they are so powerful in terms of the support that they show for all community members,” said Windsor, having earlier called Central Saanich a “diverse community.”
The painted crosswalk follows the installation of rainbow-coloured benches in front of the community’s other schools, Stelly’s secondary and Brentwood and Keating elementaries.
The crosswalk and benches are in highly visible areas near schools to serve as a daily reminder to youth that they are supported and encouraged to be proud of their identity and individuality, Windsor said.
“We’ve heard from the community about the joy and signal of acceptance that a daily reminder such as rainbow crosswalks provide,” he said. “These permanent installations are just one way Central Saanich can stand with and celebrate inclusion and diversity. I encourage all residents to take active steps to be allies at every opportunity.”
The July 20 unveiling comes less than a month after Central Saanich raised the Pride Flag at municipal hall, a continuation of a tradition that came amid efforts in the U.S. and elsewhere to reverse the rights of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
“There are positive trends and there are negative trends and this is a massive positive trend to support people,” Windsor said. While shifts in acceptance are happening outside Central Saanich, the signals made here matter, he added.
“If we can get out ahead of it and be positive, that is huge for the community.”
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