Organizers of the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks took a respite from city bureaucracy and fundraising on Thursday to celebrate, cocktail and thank their sponsors and patrons as the project moves closer to its installation.
The celebratory feel of the event, held at the Midtown home of supporters, took a bit of a dinge as it came hours after the public announcement that city officials limited the scope of the project. Initially billed as a permanent installation of rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, the city made it clear that the project has a limited engagement.
So while the city approved the addition of the crosswalks into its permanent art collection, they want them scrubbed from the streets by Oct. 16. Organizers blamed the city for the mishap but are pushing ahead to install the crosswalks on Oct. 3, just ahead of Atlanta Pride.
Ater that, organizer Robert Sepulveda (top image right) and fundraiser Wes Berry told supporters on Thursday that they will continue to work with city officials to address their concerns about safety in the hopes of making the crosswalks permanent.
Sepulveda went public with his year-long quest for the crosswalks in July. The project gained initial city approval in August and organizers launched a fundraising campaign that quickly raised more than $44,000 – twice the amount they hoped for – to pay for the installation and maintenance of the permanent project. But city officials later backtracked when the Department of Public Works raised safety concerns. On Tuesday, city officials formally notified Sepulveda that the crosswalks could be installed but only temporarily. The City Council will consider formally approving the project on Monday.
"The rainbow colors of the crosswalks may have to be removed when Pride is over, but the clear message we are fighting for can't be erased that easily. These crosswalks no matter what obstacles are faced are more than just crosswalks, they are symbols of acceptance, unity and tolerance," Sepulveda said in response.
Organizers said Thursday that supporters who donated to the project expecting the crosswalks to be permanent can ask for a refund.