Carrboro will be the first town in North Carolina to become more colorful with an LGBTQ+ rainbow crosswalk that will include an additional two stripes to support racial equality.
The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday night to bring this idea to life on East Main Street, after it waited for the advisory boards to talk out the logistics of such a project.
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said in the wake of House Bill 2, which restricted bathroom access in the state, the Board wanted to be visible about their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
“We asked for what was called the Philadelphia crosswalk which also includes a black and a brown line in addition to the traditional pride colors to symbolize solidarity with our black and brown friends and neighbors,” she said.
The cost for a colorful crosswalk is $600.
“Our board was very enthusiastic about it," Lavelle said. "And again, I think we’ve been on the cutting edge for LGBT rights and LGBT visibility for many years in the state, and so we’ve continued to do so with this."
Board of Alderman member Bethany Chaney said Carrboro is renowned in the state for its progressive values and open dissent of LGBTQ+ rights.
“We’ve been outspoken on HB2 and we celebrate pride in our own way by putting pride flags out all over town,” she said. “We have two of the only out gay or lesbian elected officials in the state, and we have really honored their contribution and beliefs.”
Chaney said more municipalities have tried brightening their crosswalks to get people’s attention and to add creative value.
“I think it’s time for Carrboro to do the same, and I love that we’ve chosen the pride flag to start us off,” she said.
Board of Alderman member Randee Haven-O’Donnell was in Vancouver when she first noticed rainbow crosswalks in 2013.
“It felt inclusive, it just hit all of the sense of diversity and inclusion in one broad statement and put it right out on the street, which nothing could be better,” she said.
The Board of Aldermen also gave the approval to create a mural on the intersection in front of Carrboro's Town Hall by repainting up to four crosswalks.
Lavelle said the board is considering having a town contest where artists will submit ideas for how the mural should look.
Liz Earley, a Chapel Hill resident, said she sees Carrboro as open-minded and inclusive.
“From my experience, everybody goes out of their way to make you feel welcomed, regardless of who you are — regardless of your sexual orientation, your gender identity, anything,” she said.
Chaney said the LGBTQ+ community still faces challenges, but she hopes the crosswalks will show support.
“It’s important to be very cognitive of the barriers that still remain for the LGBTQ community across all facets of life,” Chaney said. “In our state, and in our country, we want to be known as a friendly, safe place to be.”
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