VERNON - Vernon council has been asked to endorse a rainbow crosswalk in the downtown core.
Local resident Travis Irmen proposed an eight-colour crosswalk for the intersection of 30 Avenue and 31 Street during a presentation today, Oct. 11, at city hall.
Rainbow crosswalks can be found across the world, including Kelowna and Princeton, as a symbol of acceptance, inclusivity and support for members of the LGBTQ community, and the community at large.
Irmen said there was more support for the LGBTQ community in Vernon when he was younger, including a group that met every week and held events every couple of months. That group is no longer active, he said, and members of the LGBTQ community now travel to Kelowna to feel some sort of active support.
Irmen said he was lucky to have supportive friends and family, but noted not everyone is so fortunate.
“Having that support growing up, I consider it my duty to facilitate a symbol for those who simply aren’t supported. Who do not have the luxury of an embracing family or supportive friends. Who may feel the painful sting of homophobia. Who find themselves feeling very alone and different within a community that I have personally found to be very supportive. But how would anyone know the community is supportive?”
He said a rainbow crosswalk would serve as an active symbol of support for members of the community who may not feel included or accepted, as well as anyone else who can identify with the meanings behind the eight colours of the proposed crosswalk.
Several city councillors showed early support for the idea, which will be discussed again at the next public meeting, Oct. 24.
The idea of an art installation in support of the LGBTQ community was floated by a member of council, but Irmen said the crosswalk would serve as a declaration that the city supports inclusivity, and Coun. Catherine Lord agreed.
“It (crosswalk) is so visible, everyone’s on it, it just keeps it in mind all the time rather than having it in a separate spot,” Lord says.
Coun. Bob Spiers pitched the idea of installing the crosswalk in a school zone to promote safety as well as inclusivity.
“Having it at schools would be incredible and would support inclusivity at a young age,” Irmen said.
He noted, however, that he’d like to see the first one installed at 30 Avenue and 31 Street to enrich the downtown core. After that, he said it would be wonderful to see them at schools as well.
The eight colours of the rainbow crosswalk symbolize:
Red- Respect for all life
Orange- Healing Journeys within all walks of life
Yellow- Representing sunshine and air quality
Green-The importance of Environment and nature
Blue- Peace/ Harmony
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