The Davis Phoenix Coalition and volunteers begin their preparations for annual Pride celebration even in the face of protesters
By ZOE SMITH — firstname.lastname@example.org
Content Warning: this article contains discussions of transphobia.
On May 28 at 6 a.m., members of the Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC) gathered at Central Park to paint nine crosswalks rainbow colors in honor of Pride Month, which is celebrated throughout June. The DPC is a group that works to eliminate intolerance and prevent hate. While the group has painted sidewalks with the classic rainbow colors during Pride before, this is the first year that they have painted the colors of the trans flag on the crosswalks.
Dillan Horton has been a member of the Davis Pride Committee for three years. He and his partner Francisco Lopez Montaño were some of the volunteers that helped paint the crosswalks and bring supplies.
“This is our ninth annual celebration here in the city of Davis, so we’re really proud of that,” Horton said. “This crosswalk painting has only been incorporated as a part of our celebrations for the past couple of years. There’s so much community support around this; a lot of the schools in the K-12 school district have added some rainbow crosswalks to parts of their campus.”
DPC members were notified that there may be protestors from a local conservative group coming to disrupt the painting process, and possibly attempt to wash off the fresh paint.“Overwhelmingly, this is a community that supports inclusion and accessibility,” Horton said. “The folks who are coming to our community, I point that out, [are] coming to our community from somewhere else to inject division and wedges between folks in our community. They’re external. They’re not a part of this.”
Only two protestors showed up at the event. They were two Davis parents, Beth and Rick, who preferred not to give their last names in order to protect their privacy. They propped up signs and held a big banner that stated, “Don’t let your body be their piggy bank” and “Loving parents don’t support gender ideology.”
“I don’t understand why they couldn’t wait until after Memorial Day weekend,” Rick said. “That kind of minimizes Memorial Day. They have an entire month next month and could have waited till after. Painting the crosswalk without authorization at a location where there’s going to be a Pride festival. I have a problem with it at schools. I do because that’s putting an ideology in children.”
While there was no confrontation between the protestors and the DPC members at the event, Montaño shared their frustration with the protest and talked about how it harms the community.
“What frustrates me personally is the amount of times that individuals will talk about individual freedom and liberty and personal choice, but then make statements like this and pursue policies like these,” Montaño said. “Which so very obviously harms our population and limits our potential and our ability to continue growing as individuals.”
City Councilmember Gloria Partida, chair of the DPC, talked about what the coalition stands for.
“We work on diversity and inclusion,” Partida said. “We do a lot of different things in the community. Most recently, we did a vigil for David Breaux at the compassion bench. And we do a lot of anti-bullying work. And we also support a lot of our vulnerable populations in the community. Everybody has a right to their opinion […] we believe that everybody should be accepted and supported and that they can feel safe in their community.”
Written By: Zoe Smith — email@example.com
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the rainbow crosswalk at Birch Lane Elementary School was washed off by a protester. However, we have been informed that the city washed it off due to permit problems and because the colors were painted on top of the reflective white.