Three crosswalks in town were painted in rainbow colors this week, in support of the LGBTQ community.
Sackville Mayor John Higham said the symbolism behind the rainbow crosswalks – showing that our community is accepting – is important in today’s society. He said while great progress has been made when it comes to human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, there is still much to be done.
“We are not there yet,” he said.
Gender discrimination still exists, said Higham, and so there is still a need to continue expressing principles of equality.
“We must show that regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, everyone is equal under the law and each of us have the right to exercise our full range of human rights, without exception.”
The rainbow crosswalks help make that statement, said the mayor.
“Here, in Sackville, all of us are equal and all of us are welcome.”
Janet Hammock, a local gay rights advocate and longtime leader and facilitator of the recently-disbanded PFLAG Chapter, said she is proud to live in a community that is so open and welcoming.
“It’s exciting,” said Hammock of the new crosswalks. “I’m thrilled about it and the way it came about. I’m glad Sackville has done this.”
Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects for the town, said the municipality decided to undertake the rainbow crosswalk project after being issued a challenge by the village of Cap Pele.
“We gladly accepted the challenge, particularly given that (town) council passed a motion in April indicating that we are an open and welcoming community to all people,” said Burke. “So this is not only a great initiative but it’s great timing. We’re always up for a good friendly challenge – especially for something so important - so we decided to not only paint just one crosswalk, but to paint three of them.”
Sidewalks that have been painted include one on York Street, in front of the Mount Allison chapel, and two on Main Street, one in front of Campbell Hall and the other in front of the Sackville Public Library.
Hammock said Sackville continues to take steps towards greater inclusiveness and she hopes that as residents and visitors to the community walk across these brightly-colored crosswalks they, too, think about the steps they can take to do the same.
The project was undertaken in partnership with Mount Allison University’s Student Union (MASU), who had also approached council about painting the crosswalks.
“We’re really glad to see it happening,” said Danica Garner, MASU’s vice-president of external affairs.
As a small, liberal arts university, Garner said “it’s important for us to show we care about this issue, that we care about all of our students.”
Sackville is among a group of about a dozen communities throughout New Brunswick who have painted rainbow crosswalks this summer.