Town's permanent rainbow crosswalk lets kids 'walk over their fear and self-doubt,' NJ politician says

Screenshot from Carol Velez Fardin's Twitter

LGBT people and allies celebrate pride month in June — but one New Jersey town wants to celebrate the community year-round.

Officials from the Township of Maplewood, New Jersey, are set to to officially reveal a permanent rainbow crosswalk on Thursday, according to The decoration will make the town the first in the state to have the LGBTQ-affirming colors on a county road.

The town wrote that "this permanent symbol celebrates and honors our great diversity and inclusion," according to a statement obtained by The Village Green.

"And," the announcement continues, "it marks Maplewood yet again as one of the most welcoming and progressive communities throughout New Jersey."

Dean Dafis, the first openly LGBTQ member of the Maplewood Township Committee, said the crosswalk will send a powerful message to children who are just beginning to grapple with their own sexuality. He told that it's a "permanent marker or symbol of our commitment to inclusion."

"I wanted it to be something you can encounter every day," he continued. "We want our youth in particular — perhaps those struggling to find their way, those in need of empowerment and affirmation — to proudly cross or walk over their fear and self doubt."

As noted by The Village Green, officials will unveil the the crosswalk at around 7 p.m. at a ribbon cutting ceremony on the steps of town hall.

Twitter user Carol Velez Fardin shared images of the new crosswalk.

The city of Atlanta spent just under $200,000 installing its own permanent rainbow crosswalks, which it announced in June 2017.

Then-Mayor Kasim Reed told CBS46 that he wanted to have the marker installed for the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse gay night club. That crosswalk is expected to last 10 years.

And a rainbow crosswalk might be coming to San Antonio, Texas, soon, too. According to News4SanAntonio, the city council will vote Thursday on whether to fund the colorful crosswalk, which comes with an expected price tag of $32,000.

But the city just has to pay $12,000 of that, the outlet reported, as the organization Pride San Antonio will cover the rest.

Robert Salcido, from the Pride Center San Antonio, told News4SanAntonio why he thinks the crosswalk is important.

“It really shows and represents that San Antonio is an inclusive city,” he told. “It's opening and embracing to everyone in our communities, especially the LGBTQ community."

Other cities with rainbow crosswalks from January to December include Los Angeles, Key West, West Hollywood, Seattle, Miami Beach and Philadelphia, according to LGBTQ Nation.