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New Jersey gets permanent rainbow crosswalk

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Another rainbow crosswalk has been permanently placed at an intersection of an American city, this time it's Maplewood New Jersey. This symbol of inclusivity is located at the four-way stop on Valley Street and Oakview; it was officially unveiled on Thursday.

 "We want to do something that would serve as a permanent marker or symbol of our commitment to inclusion," Dean Dafis, an openly gay member of the Maplewood Township Committee, said. "I wanted it to be something you can encounter every day. We want our youth in particular -- perhaps those struggling to find their way, those in need of empowerment and affirmation -- to proudly cross or walk over their fear and self-doubt."

Speaking to New Jersey.com in a video, resident Jennifer Bass said the township of Maplewood is a bonded one.

“The most important thing about Maplewood is that we all know each other so well. It’s really tightknit. And I think when you have that it’s hard not to be inclusive and want everyone to feel safe and happy here,” said Bass. “It may be that a few people in town aren’t happy with it but I think this town is more than open to this kind of thing.” 

Dafis said this a touchstone moment for the state of New Jersey's LGBT community.

“While many towns have striped their crosswalks in the colors of the rainbow before for Pride, no town in New Jersey has ever done so on a County Road (Valley) and very few towns in the world have done so in permanent fashion as we are doing,” Dafis said. “This is a historic achievement and one which once again marks Maplewood as a leader and crusader in diversity, inclusion, and equal treatment. When we commit to something here, we do it BIG!”

Last month the idea of rainbow crosswalks in San Diego resurfaced after the streets of Hillcrest were repaved. SDGLN  talked to Councilmember Ward of District 3 and he said at the time he liked the idea, but there were things such as safety and cost to consider. 

"I’ll be working to find solutions to this problem and will actively engage residents in that process," he told us. "It’s critical that a placemaking project is chosen that builds on the character and identity of our communities in District Three."