Rainbow crosswalk vandalism in Pickering “targeted acts of hate”

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Published July 31, 2023 at 5:12 pm

Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe said he is “outraged and disheartened” by recent acts of vandalism at the rainbow crosswalks at Esplanade Park near the Pickering Town Centre.

Both crosswalks near the city’s downtown were defaced last week in what Ashe is calling “targeted acts of hate” against the LGBT community in Pickering.

“Rainbow crosswalks here and around the world are important symbols that celebrate and honour the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, trans and queer community,” he said in a video press conference. “These targeted acts of hate do not reflect the values of our community around respect, inclusion and belonging.”

Ashe noted the community has long been “over-represented” in the demographics of those who experience homelessness, bullying, harassment, suicide and mental health challenges and face limited access to mental health care and other forms of discrimination. “For too long the Pride community has been stigmatized and excluded because of who they love and how they identify.”

“Despite this,” the Mayor added, “they have persevered in defending their human rights and demanding a just and humane world.”

Ashe said the City of Pickering “firmly denounces” the vandalism and “all forms of hatred, bigotry and ignorance” and says the impact of the crime goes “way beyond” the physical damage and cost of repairs, citing the ongoing trauma and violence experienced by those in the LGBT community.

“There is absolutely no place for this in our community,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with our commitment to build a more inclusive and equitable future that values the rich diversity among us.”

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