The pride flag was flying high over Maple Ridge city hall, the pride crosswalk was in place, all that had to happen Thursday were the formalities. After an informal barbecue in the bandstand in Memorial Peace Park and some speeches, people took a lap around the road, crossed 224th Street and then recrossed the street officially dedicating the rainbow coloured crossing.
“We want to make a strong statement that the LGBTQ community in Maple Ridge is not only accepted, but also loved,” said Mayor Nicole Read.
Council approved installation of a crosswalk, as well as flying the pride flag from city hall, earlier this year following the June 12 mass shooting at a gay bar in Orlando, Fla.
It’s a crazy world today and sometimes we can get depressed with all the bad news, Read added.
She urged everyone to take photos of the event and tweet them out.
Joanne Foote with the Fraser River All Nations Aboriginal Society said the creator doesn’t pick who should do what and accepts everyone. “All the laws apply for all people, not just some people. It’s a rainbow. It’s for all colours,” Foote said.
Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy told the small gathering that one of the proudest moments for him was when the pride flag was raised on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. “This truly, is what Canada is all about.”
But he also thanked Maple Ridge for installing the pride sidewalk. “Thank you for having the courage to do this.”
Jay Link was one of those helping carry the pride flag during the brief walk. “I think it’s fantastic what they did, especially with the crosswalk.” People were worried about an attack that happened in Orlando, he said.
“I think it’s necessary and important that they have that support for us.”
The event was hosted by PLEA Community Services Society of B.C., in collaboration with the City of Maple Ridge.
“We’re happy to have this in Maple Ridge. We’re proud supporters of the trans community,” said Wilf Leung with PLEA, (Pacific Legal Education Association).