A Brentwood Bay boy set up a pop-up stand Tuesday to spread awareness with the words “love is love,” just steps from where a Pride crosswalk was vandalized with homophobic slurs.
Noah Butterfield and mom Heidi set up the stand adorned with a Pride flag to hand out free candy, chips and drinks after the rainbow crosswalk near Bayside Middle School was targeted overnight Monday by vandals with white spray paint.
“One of the main things that we did it for is instead of people driving by and seeing a defaced Pride crosswalk with a bunch of homophobic slurs, they look over and see this supporting Pride with a whole bunch of free stuff,” said Butterfield.
A CHEK News reporter captured footage of municipal crews cleaning up the graffiti, and Central Saanich police are asking any witnesses to the incident or those with dashcam footage from the area to call the detachment.
Victoria Pride Society co-vice president Ace Mann called the situation “very sad and disheartening,” while the District of Central Saanich said it was disappointed.
Butterfield’s mom Heidi says she learned of the graffiti when scrolling through Facebook, where locals were getting the word out and voicing concerns.
“There were a lot of people who wanted to come down and do something to help. A lot of people wanted to jump in and start painting, and the mayor was here this morning checking it out and talking to us about the stand,” said Heidi.
“We wanted to do whatever we could…”
She said she was disturbed by the vandalism “because a lot of things on there are very hateful to quite a few different groups, and we can do better than that.”
So the pair packed up their belongings and went to Wallace Drive, where they set up the stand, filled bowls with goodies and started playing music.
“Love is love. Don’t discriminate,” said Butterfield.
“I’m pretty big on supporting Pride because it’s just a good thing to support. It’s really cool that they painted (the crosswalk) and the bench over there too. But it was really sad that it got defaced.”
By Tuesday afternoon, more than a dozen people had stopped by the stand, and Butterfield was able to raise some funds too.
“That’s one dollar, two dollars, three dollars. Three dollars raised,” said Butterfield, counting the change in his cup. “I’ll probably donate it to an LGBTQ+ thing, like some sort of charity.”