LGBTQ people in Florence, Alabama are mad after a Pride crosswalk was washed away by city workers.
This past Thursday, LGBTQ rights group Equality Shoals and allies appeared at the crosswalk on Mobile Street to paint a rainbow in honor of Pride Month. Unfortunately, City of Florence crews then washed it away almost immediately afterward.
City mayor Steve Holt says the washing was within the city’s rights, as the rainbow painting was applied without permission. According to him, a city ordinance prevents anyone from painting on streets or sidewalks without legal permission from the city.
“The police department called the fire department and they came and washed it off, but there are still some remnants there,” said Holt to WAAY 31.
As for Equality Shoals, they state that they applied for a permit to paint the sidewalk. While Holt and City officials say the permit was denied, Equality Shoals says they thought it was approved.
“We don’t sense that there was any miscommunication on our part. We made it pretty clear that it was denied,” said Holt.
Meanwhile, Mathew Pereda, the president of Equality Shoals, said, “We thought we were following the law as we were led to believe by Florence City Council members. As we learn more, we will let everyone know.”
Despite this violation of the law, the City of Florence says they don’t plan to seek criminal charges. They’d rather leave the incident at the removal of the Pride painting. Equality Shoals, however, is not so satisfied.
“We would like to request a meeting to address the community’s concerns and to have our permit request honored and issued in a timely manner. Regardless of who is at fault in this situation, we firmly believe you shouldn’t have to be an expert to petition your local government. The city had many opportunities to help these organizers who were trying to follow the law and instead were publically shamed,” wrote the organization and the Shoals Diversity Center.
We emailed Mayor Steve Holt and Police Chief Ron Tyler today. Let’s make things right. 🌈❤️W/ Shoals Diversity Center
Despite this conflict, a Pride March has been approved to take part in the city on June 29.