This week, our town discovered that we’re not as inclusive and accepting as some of us thought.
Some of our community’s children walked to school, or to the pool, or to the arena, across the brightly coloured and freshly painted rainbow crosswalk.
Then, as if a cloud of negativity rolled in, these same children had to walk across a giant burnout that marred the symbol of love and acceptance we thought we could share.
It turns out, Golden isn’t as beautiful as we thought it was. Even the strongest members of our community experienced this backlash first hand. A post to Facebook took on a life of its own, with hundreds of shares and thousands of comments stemming from people, some who don’t even live here. It was disgusting to see the comments rolling in, and the private messages this wonderful woman and prominent community member experienced. It shook me.
I thought we lived in a community that would bond together in times like these. I thought we lived in a place where we loved our neighbours. I thought we lived somewhere that worked together to make this a better place.
I was wrong, but not entirely.
Even though the post on Facebook is long gone, advocates are still speaking out. They are still withstanding the backlash to stand up for those who can’t do it by themselves.
The rainbow crosswalk was painted by our most vulnerable assets in the community: Youth.
And what are people teaching them by defacing something they put their hard earned donations and time and effort into?
Are we teaching them that no matter what they hope to accomplish, it will all just be ruined by some ignorant jerk? Are we teaching them that it isn’t OK to stand up for their beliefs?
A disgusting act like this shows them that their voices aren’t to be heard.
Youth are an important part of our community. And they are working diligently to create inclusive environments in their schools and neighbourhoods. This type of reckless and damaging behaviour from individuals in our community are hindering their livelihood, and that of those affected by this repulsive and putrid act.
Thankfully, those same youth were able to pull through and remove the mark on the crosswalk. They worked hard to install it, and they have continued to work hard to maintain it, as they have promised.
So, whoever you are, I hope you think about your actions and how they have affected people you live and work with. These types of actions can have detrimental and lifelong effects on people.