Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed chose the first anniversary of the Pulse shooting to announce some significant news – the city is installing permanent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.
Reed made the announcement Monday via press release:
“On June 12, 2016, amidst the celebration of Pride Month, 49 individuals lost their lives in an unspeakable tragedy in Orlando, Florida. Today, on the anniversary of this horrific event, we remember those whose lives were lost and those that were forever changed. Our thoughts and prayers were with you then, and they remain with you today.
For the past year, Atlanta has grieved alongside Orlando. Our city has rallied around our LGBT community, and we have not shied from demonstrating our unity and solidarity. And with this spirit, I cannot think of a more important time to reaffirm our unwavering and unqualified support for our LGBTQ residents.
I believe that symbols of unity matter; in recognition of the outstanding and ongoing contributions of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community to our city, I am pleased to announce today that the City will install the rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street year-round. This intersection in Midtown is recognized for its history as a hub for Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, and it is fitting that such an important and recognizable place should feature the rainbow flag.
We must never forget that love defeats hate, and light defeats the darkness.”
It’s unclear at this point what the timeline of the installation will be, but we’ve contacted the mayor’s office to find out.
Temporary rainbow crosswalks were installed just in time for Atlanta Pride in October 2015, with the city saying that safety concerns kept them from making the project permanent.
Talk of making it permanent started up again in April, after local LGBT musician Sarah Rose, lead singer of Sarah and the Safe Word, started a Care2 petition about it. Atlanta City Council President (and mayoral hopeful) Ceasar Mitchell signed the petition at a public event at the corner of 10th and Piedmont on May 23, and several other mayoral candidates chimed in that they supported the move too. As of Monday, over 22,000 people have signed the petition. Then Reed made the surprise announcement Monday afternoon.
“No words. Thank you all. We did it,” Rose wrote on Facebook shortly after the announcement.