Red River College Polytechnic leaders want new custom rainbow walkways to signify a year-round commitment to the Pride movement on campus.
The school is installing colourful murals at its two major Winnipeg sites and regional campus in Portage la Prairie to coincide with the start of the 2022-23 academic year.
“We want all students, faculty and staff and guests to know this is a safe space — that everyone is welcome to be their true self here and that we respect individuality and the true history of this land,” said Fred Meier, president and chief executive officer.
Meier said there was massive turnout on behalf of RRC Polytech at the Winnipeg Pride parade, but meaningful change requires consistent work and going beyond supporting a cause during special occasions.
The school’s knowledge keepers council, an internal working group on gender and sexual identities, and student leaders, as well as the Rainbow Resource Centre, weighed in on the design.
In addition to the traditional rainbow, the custom flag includes black and brown chevrons to represent Black, Indigenous and people of colour with intersectional identities and the three colours from the transgender Pride flag (pink, light blue and white).
A medicine wheel at the centre of the banner nods to the traditional land on which RRC Polytech sits and is surrounded by purple and yellow circles, a tribute to intersex community members. A triangular badge in the design acknowledges horrors inflicted on gay prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.
“It’s a giant welcome mat of sorts — so don’t be shy to walk across it with pride, or even show your allyship with a selfie,” Joshua Malam, vice-president academic of the Red River College Students’ Association said.
Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press