LETHBRIDGE - City crews were out on 3 Ave. S. Wednesday morning, re-painting the faded pink and blueTransgender, and Rainbow coloured Pride crosswalks near Galt Gardens, ahead of Pride celebrations beginning on Friday.
Devon Hargreaves, Chair of the Lethbridge Pride Fest Society says the vandalism that occurred last year isn't overshadowing the celebrations planned for this year's 10th anniversary.
"Actions like the vandalism last year brought together not just the LGBTQ+ community of Lethbridge, it brought together the downtown core, it brought together allies and it didn't hurt us as much as it did make us stronger and bring Lethbridge together."
The crosswalks, says Hargreaves, are a joy to see painted each year and represents acceptance, tolerance and hope for those who are striving for support, but may not have it.
In 2017, both crosswalks were damaged twice. The first time with vehicle tire skid marks, and the second time, with black paint and piles of manure.
After they were painted a second time, several members of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns took it upon themselves to guard the crosswalks ahead of the Pride Parade to ensure they weren't damaged again. Their actions drew nationwide support.
Lethbridge Police Diversity Officer Les Vonkeman notes that while they can't be patrolling the area all the time, the downtown patrol unit will be keeping an eye on the crosswalks, along with other members of the community.
"Everybody knows what happened last year, and hopefully somebody will be watching in one sort or another....it would be on our radar a little bit more, obviously, seeing as it's getting repainted now. Over the next few days we'll definitely keep a closer eye on it."
Permanent crosswalks will be installed; however, it won't be done until 2019, because of city street reconstruction scheduled for the same area.
Hargreaves says they're looking forward to this year's celebrations, which will include a flag raising at City Hall Monday, June 18 and the Pride In The Park events along with the Pride Parade on June 23. For more information on events, go to http://lethbridgepride.ca/lethbridge-pride-fest-2018/
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