SAC President Supports Rainbow Crosswalk
June 18, 2018
On Thursday, June 7, SAC President Dr. Robert Vela addressed Mayor Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio City Council, and city administrators in support of a rainbow-themed four-way crosswalk at the corner of N. Main Ave. and E. Evergreen St, bordering the SAC campus and the adjoining LGBT business district known as "The Strip."
The effort was championed by District 1 councilman Roberto C. Treviño, with the city providing initial funding and privately raised donations covering the additional cost for the specialized design and materials. The vote on June 7th was to authorize the city to accept the donation from Pride San Antonio, the local non-profit through which donations were collected.
There was significant discussion in council on the matter, but ultimately the vote was unanimously in favor. The sidewalk project is being considered a pilot program and will be studied to determine if and how traffic and pedestrian patterns may shift with the addition of the functional public art display.
San Antonio will follow other cities across the United States that have installed rainbow-themes crosswalks such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, and San Francisco. Several Canadian cities have also installed the crosswalk art, typically in areas of those cities frequented by the LGBTQ population.
Dr. Vela commented, "In the ten years I have been at SAC, I have seen our students thrive at our college because of the welcoming nature of our hardworking faculty and staff. And I am here to voice my support of these crosswalks to further our message to the community and our students that SAC is always here for them."
Vela also emphasized the college's long-standing advocacy for LGBTQ students. For years, SAC has had a very active LGBTQ student group called GALA. And in 2010, the college began recognizing LGBTQ History Month every October as an official activity of the college, in the same way that Hispanic Heritage, Black History, and Women's History are celebrated. That program is unique to higher education institutions in San Antonio.
The crosswalk with be installed later this month in time for the "Pride Bigger Than Texas" LGBTQ parade and festival on June 30. Dr. Vela embraced the move as a reflection of the College's and College District's mission of inclusion and diversity. "Our mission at SAC and the Alamo Colleges District is to 'empower our diverse communities for success'" Vela states to Council. "As president, I have taken that mission to heart. Our goal is to make our college as inclusive as possible by better serving our own backyard."