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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Manhattan Beach shows pride, inclusion with new rainbow crosswalk

The Manhattan Beach Pier has a brand new walkway to proudly hold.

Manhattan Beach unveiled its new rainbow crosswalk at Manhattan Beach Boulevard and The Strand this week, commemorating LGBTQ+ Pride month and showcasing inclusivity.

Mayor Steve Napolitano, who swung into position this month, cut the ribbon—which was rainbow-striped—to officially open the new crosswalk on Tuesday, June 14. About 80 people came to see.

In April the city council approved the final design and allocated $50,000 from the Public Art Trust Fund for the installation of the crosswalk. The colors are painted in ocean-like waves rather than straight lines.

Plans began in 2021 with locations for two possible rainbow crosswalks in the city, but the council eventually settled on this.

Napolitano said at the ceremony that he alone could not declare what the crosswalk meant for Manhattan Beach.

“To those who think this is a symbol of pride for the LGBTQ community, you are right; For those who think it’s the epitome of inclusivity, who says Manhattan Beach is a welcoming and loving community, no matter what your gender, color, or creed, you’re right; To those who regard the rainbow as a promise from God; You are right; For those of you who think it’s great to see crosswalks in colors, you’re right too.”

The point, Napolitano said, is that the rainbow connects all of those things.

Joe Marcy, the city’s cultural arts commissioner and president of the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair Association, also spoke at the event.

He said that he is proud to call the city his lifelong home because of initiatives like the Rainbow Crosswalk.

“It’s so much more than a postal address,” Marcy said of Manhattan Beach, “it’s where I feel safe, seen and heard in my community today and every day.”

Marcy shares her experience growing up in Manhattan Beach as a gay, Filipino-Italian who had the “happiest and most difficult time” of learning about the world.

But, Marcy said, “with loving parents and friends I grew up believing that anything is possible” even when the outside world did not show such acceptance.

“It’s not enough just to invite someone to the table,” said Marcy, “it’s about making sure they know they’re there.”

People from the PFLAG South Bay Chapter, an organization dedicated to supporting, educating and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families, waved a rainbow flag; a pink, purple and blue flag representing bisexual pride; And a light blue, pink and white flag representing transgender pride behind Tuesday’s speakers.

Marcy called the crosswalk “a path of hope and inspiration” and said she hoped someone would walk across it, feeling lonely.

“No matter who you are, gay or straight (or otherwise), walking down this path feels welcome and empowered,” Marcy said.

Manhattan Beach Unified School Board President Sally Peele also spoke during the ceremony, a reminder to members of the Rainbow Crosswalk community to be “change makers.”

“I am grateful to those who share their knowledge of the LGBTQ community and who are willing to learn,” Peele said.

“Life is always more beautiful with a rainbow.”

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World Nation News Desk
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