The determination to increase inclusivity in Wetaskiwin is growing.
Jessica Hanks received an anonymous letter after she won the city’s Canada Day decorating contest. The note alleged she was representing “the ‘sick’ portion of our society” by including a pride flag in her display.
Rather than be cowed by the criticism, Hanks accepted the suggestion that she paint her fence in rainbow colours to show the anonymous letter writer that written attacks could not deter the push for inclusivity.
Approximately 45 people lent a hand to paint Hanks’ fence last weekend. Everyone wore masks, social distanced as they painted and used the hand sanitizer provided to follow public health recommendations.
Wetaskiwin Coun. Gabrielle Blatz Morgan read about Hanks’ experience on Facebook and knew she wanted to demonstrate her support for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
“No one should ever feel targeted or discriminated against because of who they are and who they love,” says Blatz-Morgan. “I wanted to show my support with the rest of the community.”
Blatz-Morgan is taking her mission for inclusivity in Wetaskiwin one step farther. She recently introduced a motion at council for a citywide inclusivity campaign.
Blatz-Morgan says she has received letters from First Nations residents who have experienced forms of discrimination.
“I attended a pipe ceremony the following week to dedicate the new peace cairn location, and the elders mainly spoke about how we need to work harder on tackling racism in our community,” says Blatz-Morgan.
The proposed inclusivity campaign is aimed at providing education and awareness around discrimination of any kind.
“I truly believe this will pave the way for positive change in Wetaskiwin,” she says.