This article previously appeared on Advocate.com. Read the original here.
The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a plan to paint a crosswalk the colors of the transgender flag and add brown and black stripes to the rainbow crosswalks that currently exist.
The city has decided to show support for trans members of the community by picking a crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard in the historic gay neighborhood and painting them the blue, pink, and white of the trans pride flag.
The city currently has rainbow flag crosswalks at Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards, and in order to show solidarity with Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people, black and brown stripes will be added to those.
Councilmember John D’Amico said, “as a gay white male of a certain age in this city, I do strongly support this effort to bring new life and new awareness to all the kinds of ways in which we want to make sure people are represented and have a place in our community whether its spoken or painted or written.”
Another Councilmember, Sepi Shyne, added that “the reality is, during this pandemic, the mortality rate for Black and Brown lives is absolutely higher than every other person and it is incumbent upon us as the progressive city that we are to do everything that we can to recognize Black and Brown lives.”
A statement from Amber Hikes, who created the inclusive, Black and Brown stripe flag, was read at the meeting. “The symbols we use, the representations we highlight, matters. It matters to people who have not always seen themselves in West Hollywood and it matters people who would prefer to keep it that way,” it said.
“Your city and your leaders have for decades been role modeling that it's possible that we embrace equity, demand justice and celebrate all of us,” Hikes continued. “Updating your flag proclaims with everything that Black lives more than matter. You’re saying that queer Black and Brown representation is who we are, that Black and Brown trans lives are precious and ought to be celebrated, that centering the leadership and voices of those who are impacted is the only way we will arrive at collective liberation.”
In 2012, West Hollywood became the first city to have rainbow crosswalks on a permanent basis. Other cities like Almere in the Netherlands, Toronto, and Chicago already have trans flag crosswalks.