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Nov. 20, 2019 | Wednesday
Local News
NOTL gets a rainbow crosswalk

 

Niagara College students in the LGBTQ2+ community formed a new social club called Loving Out Loud to spread a message of acceptance, and many members of the club celebrated the painting of the new rainbow crosswalk at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus on Friday.

Students, college staff and the Student Administrative Council gathered around marked lines and rainbow balloons on the road across from the Wine Visitor and Information Centre to help paint the colourful crosswalk.

Felipe Reis, president of Loving Out Loud,  said the crosswalk signifies Niagara College’s commitment to offering a safe and inclusive space for everyone in the LGBTQ2+ community.

“The goal (of the club) is to receive anyone from the community, but not just from the community, straight people as well are welcome. It (the crosswalk) really shows how Niagara College is open to receive any part of the community,” Reis said.

He said he feels the college will actually do what it says it will in terms of providing a safe and accepting environment for everyone.

The crosswalk at the NOTL campus is the second one for the college. It was delayed until the completion of a road realignment and paving project on the campus. The first crosswalk was unveiled at the Welland campus in June.

Niagara College committed to installing the crosswalks at both campuses, thanks to a student-led initiative championed by the Student Administrative Council after collaborating with many members of the school’s LGBTQ2+ community.

Vice-president of the club, Dalton Bird, said his organization will provide a new opportunity for the college to grow and to learn more about what they stand for.

“We want to create this bridge between the community and the students from Niagara College. We want to show them that Niagara College is a safe environment for everyone,” Bird said.

“The rainbow crosswalks signify (the student council’s) resolute support for not only the LGBTQ2+ community on campus, but all communities and students at Niagara College,” student council president Tom Price said in a media release.

“They also signify the respectful partnership and collaboration between (the student council), Niagara College, and the student body to ensure Niagara College is a safe, diverse, and inclusive space for all.”

Enzo DeDivitiis, chair of Pride Niagara,  said the group values acknowledgement and accountability. Though many organizations will acknowledge the community, they aren’t always held accountable to their words.

“It’s not something that’s tangible a lot of the times. So, this is something that’s a visual, tangible point of interest that shows to everyone that they are actually standing behind their words,” he said.

“That’s huge. It means so much for so many people … This is a dream come true for so many people. Knowing that they can have that, that they have a safe space. Knowing that what they’re a part of stands behind them, that’s huge,” DeDivitiis said.

A more appropriate day couldn’t have been planned for the unveiling, Price said. Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. College president Dan Patterson thanked the almost 50 people in attendance for being a part of the occasion before handing the paint rollers over to the crowd.

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