Showing progress and raising anger

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If you’re tired of staring at a field littered with election signs, look up, look up! If you live near a publicly funded school in this province, even a Catholic one, chances are you’ll see a Pride flag, or even a Progress Pride flag, flying above your head this month- this.

Daniel Quasar reinvented the original rainbow flag and came out with the progressive iteration in 2018. Quasar, a non-binary American artist, added a chevron of colors (light blue, pink, white, black, and brown) pointing toward much-needed progress on inclusion, especially for people from trans and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.

If you prefer to look down, you can also find a sign of pride in the form of a pedestrian crossing. If it’s free of graffiti or skid marks, you can assume you’ve found a place where enough effort, educational and otherwise, has created a 2SLGBTQ-plus community of inclusion.

Unfortunately, the story more likely includes an incident of vandalism, usually within 24 hours of first applying the rainbow palette, followed by painting at least once, and in many cases two or three time. Most of the suspects identified by video are male, often seen throwing paint cans from a high-speed vehicle.

Graffiti found on the newly blessed Rainbow Pedestrian Crossing in Port Colborne last year made headlines including the UK’s PinkNews “Genesis 9:13”, a Bible verse used by the anti-LGBT Christians who claim ownership of the rainbow. , was spray painted on the red line.

These stories of crosswalk crime have been told by Ontario communities of all sizes and backgrounds, from Aurora, Brantford, Brockville, Barrie, Bowmanville, Brighton, Gananoque, Kemptville, Ottawa, Owen Sound, to Paris, Port Colborne, Port Elgin, Stratford, St. Catharines, Wasaga Beach, Woodstock, Waterdown and more recently the small town of Ingersoll in neighboring Oxford County.

In the latter case, the painting and damage took place just days before the unveiling of the new pedestrian crossing, made possible by a $5,300 donation from 100 Women Who Care in Oxford. Luckily, it was fixed in time for launch on June 1.

“As many people know, Pride is a protest. As these heinous acts of violence illustrate…we still need this protest and we must continue to advocate and educate members of the community,” said Tami Murray, Chair of the Oxford County Pride Committee.

Incidents of flag theft and/or burning seem to be less common, but unfortunately it was students who committed these acts in Hamilton, Huntsville, London, Mississauga and Norwich, which makes them more prevalent than I realize. thought.

Of Ontario’s 29 English Catholic school boards, there are only a handful of holdouts to proclaim Pride this year. Neither Hamilton nor Halton are among them.

However, while the HWCDSB voted to fly the Pride flags this month, you wouldn’t know it from their website or social media feed. A theme of “Everyone Belongs” followed by a general statement against bullying is all I could find.

In Halton, the president of that board, fellow Pat Daly, posted a statement on the website with a big rainbow heart and the words, “We all belong to our Catholic schools. Same with their Twitter account.

At the Toronto Catholic District School Board, teacher Paolo de Beuno has created an excellent website, Pride in the TDSB, full of age-appropriate resources for use by fellow Catholic educators.

In the “Opening Exercises” section, it is suggested to use “O Canada”, sung by Forte, the Toronto Gay Men’s Chorus.

Under the prayer part of the site, there is still progress to be made. I suggest a good start would be to read or follow James Martin, SJ, who posts prayers and other LGBTQ-plus positive words on social media.

He often quotes a fellow Jesuit who said to LGBTQ-plus children, “God loves you and your church learns to love you.”

Let this learning come today. Amen.

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