Despite the attempts of a vandal to ruin the project, an official opening ceremony was held for the colourful new walkway in front of the Mission Public Schools office entrance.
The inclusion walkway, a seven-coloured striped entrance created on the sidewalk, was officially unveiled on Tuesday (May 21).
A few days earlier, someone had splashed white latex paint across the design. However, it was cleaned up in time for the ceremony.
A large crowd of students, teachers and employees attended the short ceremony.
Tracy Loffler, chair of the Mission school board, told the crowd: “It seems we are living in a world where people are becoming more divisive and polarized, and we appear to be going backwards in many ways where human rights are concerned.”
She said the school board decided to have the walkway created in order to “make a strong statement to demonstrate our commitment to safe, inclusive schools for all, regardless of gender, race, religion, ability, sexual orientation or identification. And this is something we can be proud of.
“While there has been some controversy throughout the province regarding SOGI 123, I feel it’s important to note that our board is united in support of SOGI, and the vote to paint this inclusion walkway was unanimous.
“We want to set the standard for our school district and send a strong message to all. The Mission Public Schools is dedicated to providing safe, inclusive learning and working environments.”
Loffler told the crowd it is the board’s hope that the walkway is both a reminder and an inspiration for others to support and stand up for human rights.