It's the prettiest crosswalk in town. The lovely set of rainbow colours across Washington Street, by the Rossland Summit School, invites admiration. And its message is admirable too: it invites us to accept others without prejudice or intolerance ― without rejecting them on the basis of their appearance, their religion, their income level, or their sexual orientation or gender identity. Without playing any mean-spirited little games to make another person unhappy. Instead, the rainbow symbol invites us to get to know people without pre-judging based on differences.
The six-colour gay pride rainbow flag was adopted as an emblem of the LBGTQ movement in 1978. There was already another, seven-colour rainbow flag, officially adopted as the emblem of the International Co-operative Alliance in 1925. Somehow, it seems fitting that those two flags are so similar, because it seems to me that the movements they represent share similarities too.
LGBTQ people work together to accomplish what no individual could accomplish alone, and that's at the heart of co-operation too. LGBTQ people are working to educate others, to achieve social acceptance and to defeat the negative attitudes that worked against them at many levels in the past and, sadly, still do sometimes. Co-operators work together to accomplish many things through the co-operative model of business, to defeat poverty and to educate others about co-operation. To succeed, members of both movements must work together, and working together generally means setting aside differences that aren't important to the work being done.
Members of both movements, LGBTQ and Co-op, have made huge strides forward over their histories. Here's to those who have taken the trouble to bring our community the message and the beauty of our rainbow crosswalk. And here's hoping that the prejudiced among us can mull on that message and open their hearts and minds. Can't all our crosswalks be rainbows?
On Tuesday, September 5, there will be an opening ceremony for the rainbow crosswalk, at 8:00 am.