High school students lead movement for change in Merritt

Two & Out
By James Peters
March 2, 2018 - 10:59am Updated: March 2, 2018 - 1:06pm
Image Credit: Google Images

WHEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS are leading the movement for change in our society, there is little reason to fear for our future.

In Merritt, members of the school's LGBTQ club asked their school board for support for a rainbow crosswalk in the community.

It was a brave thing to do in Merritt, not only forming an LGBTQ group, but making a request before the board.

The board rightly decided if it was going to advocate a rainbow crosswalk on a City of Merritt street, it should ask the City of Merritt.

In a weak-kneed decision, Merritt council said no.

The rationale?

It would set a precedent for other groups to come forward asking for their own special crosswalks.

A couple of Coquihalla-sized holes in that argument:

First, rainbow crosswalks are actually a thing across North America.

The addition of a rainbow crosswalk elsewhere has never resulted in a torrent of other groups requesting their own street-painted recognition.

That's because volunteer service clubs and hockey teams realize they are not on an equal standing with a group of people who have historically been marginalized for nothing more than attempting to live their lives exactly how their brains are wired.

A rainbow crosswalk shows a municipality's acceptance and support of LGBTQ people.

It's an easy and cheap thing to do.

The municipality is going to be painting the pavement anyway, it's just a matter of using some colour.

Merritt council's rejection of the crosswalk request has sent a clear message to a segment of its population - and young people, no less.

With employment opportunities drying up, young people don't need many more reasons to leave a small town like Merritt.

Resisting what is now a worldwide movement to show support for LGBTQ people with a crosswalk opens another exit door.

Just like the students from Parkland, Florida speaking out in favour of gun control, these students won't rest until change happens.

If the municipal leaders won't support them in changing the world, they'll find other ways.

That's why we shouldn't fear for our future.