Student leaders propose rainbow pride crosswalk

SOUTH DUNDAS – A proposal to create a Rainbow Pride crosswalk in Iroquois will be made to South Dundas council June 13.

The proposal, made by student leaders at Seaway District High School, calls for a Rainbow Pride crosswalk to be painted across Elizabeth Drive between SDHS and the post office.

Student leaders at the school met with Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner and Municipal Clerk Leslie Drynan to discuss the idea of creating the crosswalk.

“Thanks to the support and encouragement from our community, our students will be moving forward with a formal request with the South Dundas Council,” said Seaway Principal Trent Carter-Edwards in a letter to families. “We want to continue to support our students and are writing this letter to encourage our students and families to attend the presentation and support our students.”

“It’s quite humbling sitting in a room full of young people who do not feel accepted in their own community,” Gardner told The Leader. “I believe that everyone should feel welcome. This is a fairly simple gesture students are asking for and I fully support it.”

Gardner said she expected there will be some opposition in the community to the installation of a Rainbow Pride crosswalk, and that she feels some students expect there will be opposition too.

“Talking with the students, they know that there are people in the community who are going to have an issue with it. That’s heartbreaking. Being a teenager is tough enough without having the added feeling that you are not accepted in your own community.”

The move in South Dundas follows many other communities in the region that have adopted a Rainbow Pride crosswalk. One was painted in Prescott connecting Fort Wellington to the waterfront park in 2019, Kemptville installed one in 2021. Both have see vandalism since installation.

The location of the proposed Iroquois crosswalk is within view of SDHS security cameras, which is hoped to be a deterrent for potential vandalism.

While the students have not yet presented to council, the proposal is garnering letters of support from community organizations including South Dundas Soccer.

Painting crosswalks in a rainbow of colours to support the LGBTQ2S+ community first began in the late 2000s. The first permanent rainbow crosswalk in Canada was installed in 2013 in Vancouver.

“We are so proud of our Seaway student leaders for their effort, enthusiasm, and initiative,” Carter-Edwards said. “Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Equity and Inclusion here at Seaway as we continue to create spaces that are safe, inclusive, and welcoming for all students here in our community.”

The delegation will present to South Dundas council at its June 13 regular meeting.

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