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LETTER: Thankful for an idea for which the time has come

To the City of Castlegar,

Thanks goes out to Deb McIntosh for bringing forward the idea of rainbow crosswalks downtown! Cheers to her and to the City Council for making the effort to make a symbolic gesture of tolerance and respect for diversity. Not only is it coming from a genuine place of good will, it's coming from the heart, and that makes it worth so much more than just a few words. Castlegar is a community that encourages respect and diversity. That's a statement of positive strength and community.

As a child of Castlegar, and a member of the LGBT community in the West Kootenays, I am really grateful and downright thrilled to see that the place I grew up in has grown up too! I distinctly remember the way it felt to be perceived as different and to be told to move away by more than one person. I remember feeling unwelcomed in Castlegar, meanwhile of course there were many more positive things and people going on all around who helped keep me here, too. This reminds me that Castlegar is a welcoming and kind city, full of good people with good ideas.

A rainbow crosswalk is more than rolling out the red carpet for a few LGBT people. It's rolling out a rainbow for everyone. It invites us all to enjoy what makes us stronger, the diversity of different experiences that makes us one whole community. It's only a symbol, but it's profound how that symbol makes us all feel a bit more cheerful. A rainbow might mean other things to other people, and that's part of its beauty as a symbol of acceptance, because it always symbolizes different things coming together in one harmonious whole.

Thanks again for the idea to do this, and thanks for showing everyone they are welcome in Castlegar! This means so much more than you know. It's a symbol, but it's really saying something important. It says we care, we respect, we are fun, we are one strong community. More than that, it says to the youth, Castlegar is home for everyone.

Jason Peil.

Nelson, B.C.