The Calgary Police Service’s hate crimes unit has launched an investigation into the apparent vandalism of two permanent Pride and trans Pride crosswalks in the city’s downtown.
The symbols of diversity and solidarity sit on Stephen Avenue immediately east and west of Centre Street. They were painted on Sunday, July 21.
The word “lost” appears to have been spray-painted on the trans Pride flag, while the word “lust” covers the Pride crosswalk.
A spokesperson for Zoom Painting, a private company that committed to painting and maintaining the crosswalks for up to 10 years, told Global News the company would be repairing the damage on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re saddened, we’re devastated, we’re hurt,” Parker Chapple, executive director with Calgary Pride, said on Wednesday.
Chapple said when incidents like this happen, it brings the community and the organization back to questions they’re often asked: Do we still need Pride? Why do we have Pride?
“This circumstance underlines why Pride is still so very important,” Chapple said, “and is an example of experiences our community members are still facing every single day and that we as an organization are constantly trying to champion and challenge.”
Chapple said this latest attack won’t stop the organization or community members from continuing to advocate for equality.
“These Pride crosswalks and the trans crosswalk were put there as a symbol of visibility, solidarity, support,” Chapple said.
“And no matter how many times they are vandalized, we as an organization and a community, we will be resilient and we will continue to repaint them and we will continue to be present and have that visibility. Because our community are collaborators and contributors to the city as a whole.”
Calgary police said Wednesday afternoon that the vandalism was being investigated by the hate crimes coordinator after receiving an official report.
“As vandals targeted these specific crosswalks there are reasonable grounds for police to suspect a hate-motivated crime,” police said.
“Police are investigating and canvassing the area for CCTV footage and witnesses.”
Anyone with information on the vandalized crosswalks is asked to contact police at 403-422-1234 or to contact Crime Stoppers.
The 2019 Calgary Pride Festival takes place Aug. 23 to Sept. 2.
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