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City of Dallas approves Rainbow Crosswalk project

City of Dallas approves Rainbow Crosswalk project

What is the Dallas Crosswalk Project?
The Dallas Crosswalk Project is a led by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association and LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation in conjunction with community and business leaders. The Crosswalk Project is a privately funded component of City of Dallas streetscape improvements in the Oak Lawn area. The project will enhance the vibrancy and attractiveness of the area as a part of Dallas’ overall plan to brand and promote the various cultural and business districts/neighborhoods around the Central Business District (CBD) through distinctive design of key crosswalks in each area. The Oak Lawn crosswalks will use the colorful stripes of the rainbow flag, symbolizing LGBT identity and pride.

What is the meaning of the rainbow flag?
LGBT Pride Flag was created by San Francisco artist, Glibert Baker. The original gay pride flag flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. Prior to the adoption of the rainbow flag, the Pink Triangle was used as a symbol for the LGBT Movement. However, the Pink Triangle represented a dark chapter in the history of same-sex rights. It was used during World War II as a stigma placed on homosexuals in the same way the Star of David was used against Jews. It functioned as a Nazi tool of oppression.

Harvey Milk and others didn’t want to use this symbol anymore. Artie Bressan (close friend of Baker) pressed on Baker for a new symbol and called it “the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom”. It has been suggested that Baker may have been inspired by Judy Garland’s singing “Over the Rainbow”. While it has been assigned to legend, many believe the Stonewall Riots, on June 28, 1969, were connected to Judy Garland’s death.

Time magazine wrote: “The uprising was inspirited by a potent cocktail of pent-up rage (raids of gay bars were brutal and routine), overwrought emotions (hours earlier, thousands had wept at the funeral of Judy Garland) and drugs.”

The first rainbow flags were commissioned by the fledgling pride committee and were produced by a team led by Baker that included artist Lynn Segerblom.Segerblom was then known as Faerie Argyle Rainbow; she created the original dyeing process for the flags. Baker is said to have gotten the idea for the rainbow flag from the Flag of the Races in borrowing it from the Hippie movement of that time largely influenced by pioneering gay activist Allen Ginsberg.

The flag originally comprised eight stripes; Baker assigned specific meaning to each of the colors:

Original Rainbow Flag
Later, the Pink and Turquoise stripes were removed for production reason. The flag has consisted of six colors since 1979. Read more about the LGBT Pride Flag https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_flag

Where will the crosswalks be installed?
Crosswalks along Cedar Springs Road in the Oak Lawn community have been identified as key crossings at which to install these distinctive crosswalks: Four crosswalks at Throckmorton will anchor the project. As funding allows additional crosswalks will be installed at Reagan, Knight Street, Wycliff and Oak Lawn.

Why have Rainbow Crosswalks?
Similar crosswalk projects have been completed in other major cities like Vancouver, Atlanta, Houston, and San Antonio. Not only have these colorful crosswalks added to the attractiveness/identity of the area and increased business, but have also been shown to engender trust, acceptance and openness both within the LGBT community and throughout the community at large in pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhoods. The crosswalks will help to promote Oak Lawn as a great area for business, shopping, dining and entertainment, as well as a safe and inviting community for all.

What is the timetable?
As a part of Dallas’ overall plan to distinguish and promote the various thriving cultural neighborhoods and business districts surrounding the CBD, the Oak Lawn project is slated to begin in 2019 with a planned completion in early 2020. The proposed crosswalks have been approved by the City of Dallas, pending adequate financial resources from private donors. Once the streetscape improvements are complete, it will be cost prohibitive and too late to add them at later date.

Who will be the fiscal agent for the Project?
Funds will be collected through the LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation and IRS designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Foundation was created by the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to carry out the educational and charitable objectives of the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce, support young adults, and nurture the development of leaders in the LGBT community. All gifts made to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation are tax deductible as permissible by law.

Contribute to the Project

Yes, funds will be needed for the project as well as on-going maintenance. A goal of $50k has been set for the initial fund-raiser. You can contribute here.