Vandals spray painted the words Make S.A. Straight Again on Salmon Arm’s rainbow crosswalk on Sunday, July 29. (Photo submitted)

EDITORIAL: Vandalism shows need for rainbow crosswalk

Hateful graffiti shows Salmon Arm’s need for a symbol of inclusion

Salmon Arm’s rainbow crosswalk appears to be bringing out the worst in our community.

What was meant to be a symbol of inclusion, a public display of tolerance and caring for individuals who, in many cases, have struggled with issues of identity and discrimination, has become a lightning rod for opposing views. This has been demonstrated through acts of vandalism and comments on social media ranging from dismissive to outright disgusting.

Related: Police call Salmon Arm rainbow crosswalk vandalism a hate crime

Most abhorrent was the graffiti scrawled over the three week-old rainbow crosswalk Sunday night, words that have police calling the act a hate crime. It’s rather telling that the words used in this hate crime borrow from an insular slogan made popular again by the current U.S. president.

Unfortunately, these public displays of intolerance were predictable.

In most cases where communities across B.C. have proceeded to paint a rainbow crosswalk, there has been controversy and division. And, subsequent to its painting, there has been vandalism.

Related: Salmon Arm’s rainbow crosswalk vandalized after one week

Related: Salmon Arm council approves rainbow crosswalk

Courtenay’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized one day after it was installed with burnout marks. The day after New Westminster’s rainbow crosswalk was unveiled, a 91-year-old man poured white paint on it. Fort Langley’s was quickly blemished with burnouts. In Nanaimo, a biblical verse was reportedly painted over one of their rainbow crosswalks. Smithers – burnouts again. And so on.

Precedent, however, is no excuse for continuity.

Flying a flag honouring First Nations territory or painting a rainbow crosswalk are more than political gestures. They symbolize an openness to learning and understanding more about the world and the people who share it – things that should benefit us all.

Related: First rainbow crosswalk on First Nation reserve in Canada unveiled

Editorial written by staff at the Salmon Arm Observer


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Jennifer Rice BC NDP North Coast Incumbent was re-elected for a third according to the preliminary results on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Most Read