AIRDRIE – A Pride organization north of Calgary vowed to paint over vandalism to its rainbow pathway as many times as necessary following the latest incident where the path appears to have been tarred-and-feathered.
RCMP in Airdrie said in a news release that they received a report about a “black sticky substance found with white feathers” on the Pride flag that was pained on the pathway in Nose Creek Regional Park.
Police said it’s the second incident of vandalism to the rainbow symbol in seven days, noting last weekend the pathway was also left with offensive graffiti specifically targeting the LGBTQ community.
The Airdrie Pride Society posted on Facebook that it was “extremely disheartened” about the latest vandalism and called it “targeted and hateful.”
“This just goes to highlight that this was planned and intentional. People don’t just have tar and feathers hanging around,” Candice Kutyn, the group’s vice-president, said in an interview.
“This is very targeted.”
Kutyn said that police say they’re investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Last week, Kutyn said homophobic as well as racist slurs, including swastikas, were painted across the path as well as other areas of the same park.
It happened on the anniversary of Airdrie’s first Pride festival in 2019, she said.
“We just want to highlight that this isn’t only targeted at the LGBTQ+ community – there’s a lot of hate that’s happening.”
Police are asking anyone with video footage or who witnessed suspicious activity in Nose Creek Regional Park between 10 p.m. on Friday night and 11 a.m. on Saturday to contact them.
The Airdrie Pride Society said that while the group will repaint the rainbow, it costs $300 to do so, which it said takes away from other community programming it offers.
Kutyn said “major contributors” have stepped up to help repaint, and the group has also received many smaller donations. She also noted that Airdrie’s mayor came out to help clean up last week’s graffiti.
“People are saying enough is enough with racism, with homophobia, and that creates defensiveness and fear in hateful communities,” Kutyn said.
“You can’t fight hate with hate. We’re trying to fight it with love, and the hate just keeps screaming.”