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

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

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The future of the Cache Creek pool is still up in the air as council ponders different options and cost considerations. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
No decision about whether Cache Creek pool will open in 2021

Council still discussing pool’s future; no date set for public meeting about its fate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read