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Students help bring rainbow crosswalk to Penticton during Pride Month

Queen’s Park Elementary had a rainbow crossing approved from Power St. to the community centre
Penticton City council officially declared June as Pride month. Council stands with South Okanagan Similkameen Pride Society members Madeline Terbasket and Melisa Edgerly. (City video)

The City of Penticton officially declared June as Pride Month and after a request from Queen’s Park Elementary students, a rainbow crosswalk will be installed at their school.

A display of rainbow colours and the 2spirit symbol will be placed at the crosswalk at Power Street to the community centre.

Grade 1 teacher Nicole Simons made a powerful presentation to council on Tuesday on behalf of Project Respect at Queen’s Park Elementary, a student-led initiative. She read quotes from students ranging in grades from Kindergarten to Grade 5, who spoke about why they’d like to see a rainbow crosswalk to support the LBGTQ2S community.

Council was moved by the eloquence of the children and unanimously supported installing the crosswalk.

“This is a student-led idea so I wanted to read out some quotes from them because this is not my project but theirs,” she said.

One Kindergarten student wrote, “Rainbows show all the beautiful colours for all the beautiful people of Penticton.”

Another student wrote, “this is a school that accepts everybody” and “the crosswalk will show we can be who we want to be, show you matter.”

“The crosswalk shows everyone is welcome”… “No one should be ashamed of who they love,” were some other words from students.

The South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Pride Society was also in front of council asking the city to declare June Pride month. The city’s official proclamation of Pride Month was read out after a presentation from Madeline Terbasket and Melisa Edgerly. It reads: “it is imperative that all people in our community, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression, feel valued, safe, empowered, and supported by their peers and community leaders.”

Pride month kicked off with a Pride Prom organized by Penticton Foundry as well as a night at Dream Cafe on June 4 featuring poetry, belly dancing and drag from local 2SLGBTQIA+ performers.

The annual Fruit Float is back on this month after having to be scaled down or cancelled the past two years because of COVID.

Float down the channel with Pride on June 24. Launch is at 1:30 p.m. at Coyote Cruises.

READ MORE: RDOS encourages participation in Pride Month

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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