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‘We are not divided’: Calgary Pride, BLM YYC to work together after rainbow crosswalk vandalized

Click to play video 'Calgary Pride to leave BLM spray painted on Pride crosswalk' Calgary Pride to leave BLM spray painted on Pride crosswalk
Calgary Pride has said it has requested spray paint on the rainbow crosswalk downtown not be touched or changed for the time being. Jenna Freeman has details. – Sep 28, 2020

A permanent rainbow crosswalk in downtown Calgary has once again been spray painted, but this time Calgary Pride said it won’t be removing the graffiti for the time being.

In a tweet Sunday evening, Calgary Pride explained that “BLM” — the acronym for Black Lives Matter — had been spray-painted on the crosswalk.

It’s not known when the vandalism occurred or who the culprit was.

Calgary Pride has said it has requested the spray paint not be touched or changed for the time being, instead saying they support the Black Lives Matter movement and message.

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“The Pride movement was born inside the courage of Black Trans folks who fought back in the face of oppression,” Calgary Pride stated.

“Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. Trans Lives Matter. Their stories matter and they cannot be erased.”

Late Monday, Calgary Pride released a statement to Global News.

“Community consultation is of utmost importance to our organization. We will not comment on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement without first ensuring that the voices of that movement are centred within the discussion,” the statement read.

“Calgary Pride has connected with Black Lives Matter YYC, and we are committed to moving forward in a manner that honours the voices of our communities. We hope to provide more information by next week.”

But Adora Nwofor, president for Black Lives Matter YYC, told Global News she views it as vandalism.

“That is a dedicated space to Pride Calgary and I don’t know if somebody asked them, so to me, it seems vandals went out and added some graffiti for their voice,” Nwofor said.

She said the two organizations are very much aligned but plan on having a more robust discussion later this week about moving forward. Nwofor said nobody knows who is behind the spray paint.

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“I feel like it was done to divide Pride and BLM and we are not divided. We are accomplices,” Nwofor said.

“I think people who are walking by are going to think we are collided but it’s a tactic of propaganda and oppression to make it seem like black people and queer people don’t get along, we do we love each other.”

Devery Bass, a grassroots activist, who identifies as queer non-binary, said they believe it may not need to be removed.

“Black Lives Matter was started by two queer women so I think, as a personal human being, I feel like it would be tactless to take it off I don’t think there’s any right way of taking this off right now in this pivotal point,” Bass said.

Calgary’s rainbow and Trans Pride crosswalks have been defaced in the past, once with the violent message: “Shoot a F*****,” and another time with the messages “Lost” and “Lust.”

Read more: Calgary police charge man after Pride crosswalk vandalism

The rainbow and Trans Pride crosswalks were painted on Stephen Avenue immediately east and west of Centre Street in 2019.

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Zoom Painting has committed to painting and maintaining the crosswalks for up to ten years.