In a council meeting on Sept. 7, a discussion was had about a proposal by the Foundry Burns Lake Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) to install a rainbow crosswalk in town, in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Village council was receptive to the proposal, but had some ideas about changing the location. The YAC initially proposed in their letter that the crosswalk be located at the bottom of Eighth Avenue, near the intersection of Eighth Avenue and Government Street.
The motion was carried to discuss the location further with the YAC, and propose several other high traffic density locations as well. No final decisions were made on the project.
Members from the YAC attended another council meeting on Oct. 12 to provide council with a live presentation on why the project is important to Burns Lake, as well testimonies on what it would mean to the committee. Among the speakers were Skyler Woolridge, Liz Phair, Hannah Phair, Ava Antoine and Milo Benson.
YAC members told council that they believe that a rainbow crosswalk would not only be a starting point for engaging the community in pride events and activities, but it would be a visible representation of support to the LGBTQ+ community which will allow new faces to feel welcome.
Burns Lake currently has no known services for people who identify LGBTQ+, and the YAC believes that needs to change, especially since there are already rainbow crosswalks in places such as Smithers and Prince George.
“It would benefit the community because it’ll show both young and old people that change is happening, and that all people should be treated equally. These crosswalks symbolize acceptance, inclusion and diversity in a visual form,” said Liz Phair during the presentation.
“It means a lot to me,” said Benson. “Specifically feeling like I’m valid or seen, feeling safe in the community, and making others feel safe in the community.”
As for the design of the crosswalk, the YAC unanimously voted amongst themselves to choose the progress flag as opposed to the original pride flag created Gilbert Baker, and artist and gay rights activist from nNw York City. This new flag is a variwation on the original, created by graphic design artist and activist Daniel Quasar from Portland, Oregon, to not only showcase different sexualities, but transgender individuals and people of colour as well.
The design of the flag has a left-facing chevron on top of the rainbow, with black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, and white, pink and blue stripes to represent transgender people.
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