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Vernon seniors centre undeterred by vandalized inclusivity message

Pride signage was vandalized at the Schubert Centre, but the centre promptly reinstated its welcome message
A sign depicting a pride flag with the message ‘you are welcome here’ was vandalized at the Schubert Centre Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (Schubert Centre photo)

A Vernon seniors centre that was looking to spread a message of inclusion won’t be backing down from that message despite a few instances of petty vandalism and complaints.

A couple months ago, the Schubert Centre put up an inclusivity sign in its front window depicting a pride flag with the message ‘you are welcome here’ printed below.

Schubert president Diane Weaver said that on Dec. 5, it was noticed that someone had scribbled over the sign with black felt pen.

“It’s a sad day when a seniors’ centre gets vandalized when trying to make sure everyone knows that they are welcome,” the Centre posted on social media. “Schubert Centre stands firmly behind the idea that if you are respectful and kind, you are welcome here.”

Far from deterred by the vandal, Weaver said the Schubert Centre scraped off the scribbles and reaffirmed the message — and they’ll continue to do so if vandals strike again.

“If they scribble it, we’ll clean it up and put another (sign) up. I’ve got some extras.”

So far the sign has only been vandalized once, but a couple people have vocally taken offence to it, leaving the team at Schubert scratching their heads.

Weaver said a couple weeks ago a man stood outside and was “really angry” and wouldn’t come in. The team went out to see what the problem was and he told them he wanted them to take the sign down.

“He was one of those people who thought that there was something against God’s principle and that it shouldn’t be allowed,” Weaver said. “He went on saying all sorts of rather nasty stuff about people, and we just said we’re not taking (the sign) down, and we’re sorry you don’t think you can come in here, but that’s your choice.”

On Friday, Weaver said a lady came in with a completely different take on the sign. The lady told them the sign didn’t feel inclusive to her since “we were including everybody else, and it didn’t make her feel like she was welcome here,” Weaver said.

Weaver had a long conversation with the woman explaining that the intent of the sign was to make everybody feel included, not just the LGBTQ2IA+ community.

And the seniors at the Schubert Centre, Weaver said, don’t have a problem with being inclusive to people of all gender, race and sexual identities.

“I think as seniors, most people have lived long enough to know that there’s all sorts of different people in the world, and we’re all just people, and you don’t want to discriminate against anybody,” Weaver said.

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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