A mural promoting racial unity is being painted in Summerland and should be completed by the time school starts.
According to School District 67, the mural is located on the east wall of Summerland Middle School, and the artists plan to have it finished by Sunday, Sept. 5.
The mural stems from an incident in July 2020 when a local family had its home tagged with racist graffiti, along with rocks being thrown through windows. Police described it as hate-motivated vandalism.
Summerland RCMP launched an investigation, as similar graffiti was also found on the town’s bandshell stage at Memorial Park.
Following the incident, the Lekhi family created a GoFundMe page to fund “a mural, a large sign or another eternal symbol that can be placed in our community. This symbol is a sign of unity, a celebration of diversity and a reflection of the positivity that resonates in Summerland.”
The school district said that “very quickly, an overwhelming outpouring of support towards the Lekhi family from the community of Summerland emerged as people spoke out against these acts.”
The school district said it partnered with the Lekhi family through an anti-racism group and discussed creating a mural on district property that celebrates Summerland and its diversity.
Following a call to artists earlier this year, a submission from Kelowna was selected.
“Anti-Racism education and efforts to ensure that the culture, beliefs and ancestry of all students and staff are accepted, celebrated, and understood is an important component of this commitment,” said School District 67.