Rainbow Crosswalk in Peachland

What do you think of a Rainbow Crosswalk in Peachland?

Every time there’s a beautiful rainbow shining across the valley, I stop driving to take a look… maybe even a picture? Beautiful and awe-inspiring to this very day, it’s safe to say that I don’t have a problem with rainbows. In fact, you could say that I’m pretty fond of them! I saw my first double-rainbow on the day I put my best fur-buddy and companion of 14 years to rest, so you can bet I think of him every time I see those beautiful colours in the sky. Still makes me smile.

The Rainbow has been the symbol of the Pride Movement since about 1978, and whether it’s painted on the sky or painted on the ground, it’s safe to say that it’s been allowed to GROW and take on new meaning. Without meaning to steal the symbol or reduce its original significance, the installation of rainbow crosswalks has come to represent a positive message in any sense, even if the original message isn’t as widely considered anymore.

Many believe the rainbow to symbolize that everyone should feel included in our society… gay, straight, short, tall, green, purple or anything else. It’s a lovely message, although the original was centered around rights of the LGBT Community. There are others who believe the new message of the rainbow is that bullying should not be tolerated, or that it’s not okay to marginalize anyone who is simply trying to make it out there in the real world… same as you. If they’re stealing the rainbow back with positive messages like this, then I’m not hearing any apologies.

There is a degree of political controversy surrounding the rainbow, or perhaps it’s better to say that the Pride Events historically represented by the rainbow have become more political over the years, and this could be detracting from the uniquely positive message of the symbol. A mix of groups are being excluded or banned from events for a variety of reasons, and that may have left that message of “inclusivity” a little less certain, too. I should surely hope that the original message will always be a part of that rainbow, as it was fought and paid for with real blood and tears. Gay-bashing was a real thing, after all. This rainbow carries a deep significance for many. My dog Charlie is deeply significant to me.

My primary concern is that Rainbow Crosswalks are frequently targeting with vandalism in other communities, and I do not want to have this happen here. I’m wondering if vandalism happens where time has not been taken to ensure that the message is properly understood. If the message of the rainbow crosswalk has evolved to become more inclusive and wider-meaning, then it seems to me that this has been communicated haphazardly and people have been left to figure this out for themselves. I’d like to ensure that our rainbow crosswalk is respected, which likely means letting people know what it stands for before it just “shows up” in the middle of the road one day. I’d like to make sure that show-offs don’t do burn-outs across the surface, too. I accept that it’s much like painting a target on the road for some weekend warriors, but perhaps we’ll be able to convince them to lay off the clutch if they know why it’s there. Respecting the crosswalk is about respecting the message, and respecting the message is about understanding it. I don’t think we’re there just yet, but I believe we can be by the time the sun shines again in the spring. There is every reason to do this the right way.

I don’t believe that promoting political messages should be an under-taking of the District, but I’m satisfied that the rainbow is so frequently regarded as non-political at this point in its history, that this is really no reason to not be supportive. Furthermore, I don’t see that the District is lending its support to anything discriminatory or lending its preference to any particular group or cause, as the rainbow has surely come to mean many things to a great many people. Whatever the message or messages, they’re surely nice ones. I have a hard time pigeon-holing anything here as political.

If this feels a little like jumping on the band-wagon, then I think this a pretty nice band-wagon to be jumping on. If the Canucks do well this winter, then I’ll jump on that bandwagon, too… we can cheer and have beers together. If we were to install this rainbow across from Swim Bay, (instead of 3rd St. where it has been proposed), then the look of glee on every kid’s face as they dance across it on summer days should be positive enough for even the most cynical among us. I wouldn’t go out of my way to vandalize a happy cartoon on the road beside a children’s playground. Damn the political element and any negative connotations if they don’t exist anymore. We’re doing this for all the right reasons. Perhaps this is the message we need to start spreading over the winter.

Respecting this crosswalk is going to take an effort from all of us. The responses I’m getting from many Peachlanders aren’t very enthusiastic at this point, but I’d like all of us to think about it in the coming weeks. Is there any harm to it? Is this a political message? Is jumping on a happy bandwagon filled with smiling kids and rainbows such a bad thing?

Your opinion matters. Please click “comment” below if you care to share.

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