Calgary Pride is not letting new graffiti on the city’s rainbow crosswalk sow divisions. The organization says they want to send a message about the importance of solidarity between the LGBTQ Pride and Black Lives Matter movements.
The organization said In a statement Sunday that it is asking the city and supporters not to remove the black spray paint spelling out “BLM” from the rainbow crosswalk downtown. The graffiti was first brought to public attention Sunday afternoon by Twitter user CrackMacs.
Rather than condemning the graffiti, Calgary Pride expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, noting how the Pride movement was born from Black trans people.
“Calgary Pride has been made aware of the BLM spray paint on the rainbow crosswalk downtown, and we’ve requested that it not be touched or changed for the time being,” the organization wrote in a statement.
“The Pride movement was born inside the courage of Black Trans folks who fought back in the face of oppression. Calgary Pride supports the BLM movement and message. Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. Trans Lives Matter. Their stories matter and they cannot be erased.”
The organization is being heralded for its nuanced response and messaging.
This isn’t the first time the crosswalk has been vandalized. Most recently, the crosswalk was vandalized twice in one week in 2019 with homophobic slurs. Rainbow crosswalks across Canada have been subject to tar and feathering, skid marks and paint vandalism.
Like many rainbow crosswalks across Canada, the Calgary crosswalk features black and brown stripes to specifically note the significance of people of colour in the LGBTQ movement.
WATCH: B.C. town rallies to preserve its rainbow crosswalk. Story continues below.
It has not been an easy few months for the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ movements in the city, however. In August, intersectional LGBTQ+ group The Pink Flamingo received $120,000 in funding from the city for a series of Black Lives Matter murals.
Jae Sterling, an artist for one of the planned murals in Calgary’s downtown received a swell of racist backlash from the community, however. The mural was eventually moved to a new location and given private funding, with security hired to protect Sterling and his team from verbal abuse.
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