Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA Mitzi Dean was appalled by the homophobic graffiti that defaced the newly completed rainbow crosswalk at Royal Bay Secondary recently. She calls on everyone to stand up to hate in all its forms. (Photo Don Craig/BC government communications)

Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA Mitzi Dean was appalled by the homophobic graffiti that defaced the newly completed rainbow crosswalk at Royal Bay Secondary recently. She calls on everyone to stand up to hate in all its forms. (Photo Don Craig/BC government communications)

MLA column: Let’s stand up against hate

Mitzi Dean is NDP MLA for Esquimalt Metchosin

If we want to raise resilient children and build resilient communities, we need to stand up against bullies and bigots and hold them accountable for the harm they cause.

A few weeks ago, Royal Bay Secondary became the first school in the Sooke School District to install a rainbow crosswalk, representing equity, acceptance and inclusivity. The project was spearheaded by students and came about through strong community collaboration and a commitment to social justice.

Unfortunately, a few days later the crosswalk was vandalized with homophobic slurs. This horrific hate crime forced the community to come together once again to fix the damage and speak out in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

In the face of this appalling vandalism, I condemn all homophobic, transphobic and other hateful beliefs. I urge our entire community to stand up against violent or hateful rhetoric whenever they encounter it to show our kids that they will be supported when they stand up for themselves. We need to demand accountability so the students who led this incredible project and dealt with the emotional impact while only being teenagers themselves, know that their community stands with them.

When my daughter attends Royal Bay in a few years, I am glad to know that she will be going to a school where past students left a legacy of accepting each other for who they are. I have already shared this story of community resilience with her and look forward to sending her to school in a safe and welcoming environment.

The destruction of the crosswalk was a devastating and awful act of hate and it is critical we make it clear that our community will not tolerate homophobia, transphobia, and any other form of discrimination. The stronger our support system, the more resilient we become, so let’s work to foster resiliency in our children and our community by condemning hate and bigotry and celebrating love.

Mitzi Dean,

MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin

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