BURIN PENINSULA, N.L. — The towns of Burin and Fortune have voted in favour of painting crosswalks within their respective communities rainbow as a show of support for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community.
Burin Coun. Marcus Evans explained to council that the town received a letter of support from the Gay Straight Alliance at Marystown Central High School, in respect to the motion for the installation of a crosswalk in heritage square in Burin.
The location for the crosswalk is at the intersection of Police Road and Main Street.
“We think that this sends a good message not just to local residents, but beyond Burin,” said Evans. “I think that many of us were very bothered by the failure of the council of Springdale to give their own students the rainbow crosswalk they were seeking.
“We’ve seen a number of municipalities around the province react to that. I think we need to show that rural Newfoundland can do better than has been done, and I’m very happy to move that we install a rainbow cross walk here in Burin.”
The Town of Fortune will also add themselves to the list of communities to have installed a rainbow crosswalk in the community.
Fortune Coun. Matthew Woodland brought forth the motion during the Monday, June 4 meeting of council.
“I’m sure we all heard the recent controversy,” he said of the decision of the town council in Springdale. “Personally, it really bothered me all the hateful comments that I seen come out of it.”
He added that within the town they have residents who are members of the LGBTQ community, “I think it would be nice if we could show our support without having to be asked first.”
Council approved the painting of a rainbow crosswalk on Forest Road, in the area of Lake Academy.
“The school is our property, so that land is easy to do,” explained Mayor Charles Penwell.
Show of support
In celebration of Pride Month, members of the student council at John Burke High School in Grand Bank painted an outside stairwell leading to the local Shoppers Drug Mart location rainbow on June 4.
Student council president Damian Stacey told The Southern Gazette on Thursday, June 7, that the idea came up during a recent meeting.
“First, we were going to do the crosswalk,” he said, “(but) then we figured just do the staircase."
The stairs were located on the school grounds so they did not have to seek approval from the local town council.
"We wanted to show our support for the students in the school (that are) a part of the gay community," he said
Damian explained that he had the assistance of another member of the student council, Whitney Cuza, as well as Sherri Matthews, the school’s guidance counselor, and Tracy Blagdon, the school’s assistant principal.
Damian added that other events will be held at the school.
“We’re having our Pride Week (this) Monday coming and we’re having a Pride Day on Wednesday,” he explained, “Every grade will be (wearing) a different color, we’re doing a rainbow and we’ll be giving out free fruit kabobs, the colors of the rainbow."
He said the day will be about celebrating pride.