For the third time in a month, someone in our city has engaged in an act of vandalism that appears to be driven by bigotry. For the third time in a month, our newspaper has to use this column to denounce hate and call for solidarity and inclusiveness.
To recap: On May 28, someone scrawled racist and homophobic slurs on a wall at Windsong Heights School. Then, during the weekend of June 20, someone targeted the rainbow walkway in Nose Creek Regional Park, covering it with homophobic graffiti. Less than a week later, a day before the anniversary of the Stonewall riots – a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights – the pathway was vandalized again, this time with what appeared to be tar and feathers.
Each instance of vandalism was swiftly – and rightly – followed by denunciations. Even so, as we reflect on these incidents, we find ourselves tired and frustrated.
When these situations occur, it is easy to decry them and claim they don't represent our city. But that becomes harder to believe when the same thing happens repeatedly. Each incident becomes a stain on Airdrie's reputation that is harder to clean off.
We love Airdrie. Our staff grew up here, live here and work here. We truly believe it is one of the best places to call home in the entire world. Therefore, it's incredibly frustrating to see Airdrie not live up to its potential. It hurts to see former residents point at these events as reasons why they would never move back.
As one of our reporters said this week, "It's disappointing to see your city trending on Twitter for a negative reason."
It is imperative that every single person in this city works to make it a safe, inclusive place to live. It is the responsibility of every person living in Airdrie to stand up for what is right and to address prejudice when they encounter it. Only then do we ensure Airdrie remains the great hometown we know it can be.