Repainting the rainbow in Memramcook

Middle schoolers band together to repaint vandalized pride sidewalks

Citizens of Memramcook, a village 15 minutes from Sackville,  noticed a unique sight on October 20: a group of middle schoolers repainting sidewalks. Approximately a month ago, pride sidewalks were vandalized in front of École Abbey-Landry due to people doing burnouts— when cars purposely spin wheels to create tire marks— on the colorful crossways. Students of École Abbey-Landry and village officials began to repaint the sidewalks to repair the damages. 

For the readers that may not know, pride sidewalks are a way to show support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and they can be seen in communities worldwide. Students at Mt. A can observe pride symbols here on campus. In 1978, Gilbert Baker, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, created the pride flag as a symbol of pride for the members of the community. Each colour on the flag represents a different meaning, such as violet for spirit and red for sexuality. Since then, there have been several variations inspired by the original flag, such as the transgender pride flag, the bisexual pride flag, and the genderfluid pride flag. Although the queer pride movement has evolved, the respect and rights many people are still fighting for remain constant. 

Seeing people driving all-terrain vehicles is not uncommon in Memramcook, in fact, they have their own ATV club. On the night of the incident, the ATV drivers stopped traffic on the road for half an hour while they did their burnouts. RCMP were called, but due to the delays, the offenders left the scene before the RCMP arrived. 

Memramcook Mayor Maxime Bourgeois discussed the incident, stating that there were efforts to repaint the sidewalks, but external factors such as rain and paint shortages halted plans. Bourgeois also said that the village was looking for the perpetrators, the vandalism of the pride sidewalks was not an isolated case and they want justice. Memramcook is very popular for ATV trails and attracts riders from all over the Maritimes. As well, Vice President of the ATV club, Sébastien Cyr, commented, saying that he was disheartened by members of the community targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Cyr also noted that this is difficult to accept because many people in the club are working hard to promote a positive attitude around the sport. Furthermore, Cyr assured that he will work with those in the ATV club to promote safe driving. 

Despite this hurdle, many adolescents are choosing to see the positives and create change within their communities. One student voiced their confusion about the vandalism in question, pondering why people choose to hate and be prejudiced against others since we are all humans. When the students decided to take it upon themselves to repaint the damaged sidewalks, they demonstrated their tenacity and commitment towards social justice.  Despite the vandalism and discrimination, the group decided to preserve and repaint the sidewalks. Young people will be the ones to create change in the future due to their tenacity and compassion for others. 

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