Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled one of 11 new rainbow crosswalks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood Tuesday. Dubbed the “gayborhood” by its residents and visitors, Capitol Hill is now all decked out for Pride 2015.
“Social Outreach Seattle began the process of getting the rainbow-colored crosswalks painted on Capitol Hill in December 2012. Since then, so much has changed on the Hill. People have moved out and even more people have moved in,” said Social Outreach Seattle President Shaun Knittel.
Knittel stressed the importance of community.
“Between gentrification and a rise in hate crimes, the neighborhood was feeling down and the community strained. Projects like this one do not directly make rent lower, or employ people, or even keep someone safe. However, this is something that makes people feel good and that means something. Cultural identity touches people deep inside and can leave a lasting impression. The LGBTQ community built Capitol Hill into what it is today and as time has changed things over the years, the one constant will remain – the rainbow pride colors remain our banner.”
Murray wrote on his Facebook wall shortly after the unveiling: “This morning I joined members of the LGBT community to debut rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill. I appreciate the recommendation from my LGBT Task Force to celebrate the cultural identity of the neighborhood.”
The crosswalks, which cost approximately $6,000 each, are located east of Broadway on 10th and 11th Avenues. The cost for the crosswalks are being covered by new private developers on Capitol Hill. Each crosswalk is expected to last three to five years. The city says they will continue to maintain them.
“Visitors to Capitol Hill will now have a big, beautiful reminder of the diversity that has made and continues to make Capitol Hill a vibrant and exciting place to live,” said Egan Orion, Seattle PrideFest executive director. “For the LGBT community, it’s a symbol of reclaiming a neighborhood that has been so important to us for so long. We can share the streets of Capitol Hill, but now we can tell people: we’re here, we’re queer, and look at our beautiful rainbow sidewalks!”
To Knittel, the rainbow crosswalk is a symbol, but it’s much more than that.
“Whether on a flag, coffee cup or crosswalk, the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet colors remind us of where we came from, who we are, and where we wish to be. SOSea thanks the Murray administration for helping to make this a reality. ”
Check out our friends at Capitol Hill Seattle for exclusive photos and video of the crosswalk unveiling.