NIPAWIN — With permission from the town, students from the L.P. Miller Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) have taken out their brushes and given the sidewalk in front of the school a temporary Pride Month paint job.
GSAs are an umbrella term for groups formed to support LGBTQ2+ individuals and promote the idea of inclusiveness for all.
The L.P. Miller students formed their first GSA during the 2015 to 2016 school year.
Kendra Nesbitt, the club’s adviser, said this was something the GSA had planned since the beginning of the school year.
“At the beginning of the year when we talked about what projects or events our students might want to spearhead or complete, the rainbow sidewalk was a big one for June, and Pride Month, and just showing inclusion and acceptance,” Nesbitt said.
“It’s especially important now when everyone is pretty socially isolated to just have this symbol that we’re all in this together, and inclusivity and acceptance.”
Permission was granted to paint the sidewalk from Nipawin council during their last council meeting, in May.
“It will last a month is our hope, but if it doesn’t we’re going to go and refresh it,” Nesbitt said. “The reason we did use acrylic craft paint is it wouldn’t cost the town any money if they did have to go ahead and remove it with a pressure washer or anything like that.”
The majority of Pride events are held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City on June 28, 1969, which most historians consider to be the birth of the modern LGBT movement.
During the historical event, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar where LGBT+ people frequented. Raids targeting bars catering LGBT+ people was common, but on June 28 the LGBT+ community fought back against the police, throwing bottles, bricks and whatever else they could get their hands on.
In modern days, Pride events play a key role in commemorating the community’s history, and serve as an opportunity for the community to come together, take stock and recognize the advances and setbacks made to equality for LGBT+ people in the past year.
Additionally, Pride events serve as a chance for the community to come together and celebrate in a festive, affirming atmosphere.
“We want people to drive by, we want to spread some smiles, and we want to let them know that there is a group out there, and if there are any students who want to make contact we do exist in the school,” Nesbitt said.
“I also want to thank the town for backing us on this, I know there are a lot of small towns who do not approve these projects and I think it was so incredible the Town of Nipawin was so receptive and they gave us the go-ahead right away.”
Nesbitt said so far the club has only received positive feedback from their project.
“I’m just delighted with how it turned out and it was fun to do.”