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Truro man leads effort to protect rainbow crosswalks in Alberta


Published on July 13, 2017

Sean Steacy, left, and Peter Millman, next to him, with a couple of those who joined them in guarding the crosswalks painted for Lethbridge Pridefest.

©Submitted

LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. – Peter Millman has earned a number of honours as a track and field star with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, including U Sports Athlete of the Year for field events.

He was also recognized as recipient of the student-athlete community service award, and the Truro native demonstrated how worthy he is of the honour through his recent actions.

Two crosswalks in Lethbridge, Alta., where Millman was attending university, were painted in rainbow colours for Pride celebrations, but during a two-week period they were defaced twice.

“I was pretty disgusted when I saw it,” said Millman. “A couple of people did burnouts on them and then a group dropped tar on a crosswalk and it had to be repainted.”

He decided something needed to be done to ensure the crossings would look good during festivities, and discussed the situation with his friend, Sean Steacy. They came up with an idea and he posted a Facebook message for his Lethbridge friends:

“I was extremely disappointed in the city I live in after the defacing of the rainbow crosswalks, which have been painted for Pride next weekend. This got Sean Steacy and I to brainstorming, and after talking to the head of the Lethbridge Pridee committee, we have decided to put a group together to watch over these important symbols on the night of the 23th. It would be an extreme shame for everyone intending to celebrate pride to have to go through this once again on the morning of the 24th. If you would like to join us, please message me for further details. Thanks in advance!!”

At 9 p.m., on June 23, Millman, Steacy and a few others set up chairs near the crosswalks to deter troublemakers and ensure anyone doing wrong could be identified. Five people remained all night, until 8 a.m. the next morning, with as many at 20 there at times. While some passers-by yelled insults, others thanked them for what they were doing and brought coffee and donuts. In the morning, the crosswalk guardians went home for a nap before enjoying the day’s festivities.

“We had a good group and it was a really fun night that led to a really happy Pridefest the next day,” said Millman. “As members of the track team we try to be as active as we can be in the community and this was an opportunity to do what’s right.”

lynn.curwin@trurodaily.com