WATCH: Armed with paint brushes, a group tried to tackle intolerance in Victoria after slurs were painted near a centre for immigrants. Isabelle Raghem reports.
Andrew Brodersen was walking along Balmoral Street on his way to work when graffiti caught his eye.
“I noticed on [the] poll, was a racial term that is unacceptable to even say.”
‘Learn english’ and other racial messages were written on hydro poles near the Inter-Cultural Centre, a space offering services to immigrants and refugees in Greater Victoria.
“I was outraged, it’s completely unacceptable to think that’s okay to do,” says Brodersen.
So armed with paint and brushes, he and about a dozen volunteers painted over the messages of hate on Friday, replacing them with messages of inclusion.
While the Inter-Cultural Association says most people in Victoria have been supportive of refugees and immigrants, the messages have been showing up since 2016.
“This has been a one off thing that’s been happening in the neighbourhood for a year now, and it’s been looked into and it seems it’s one person who’s doing this but it doesn’t seem like she’s dissuaded to stop doing it,” explains the association’s CEO Jean McRae.
“Certainly for our staff, they notice it and they understand what it means and it’s discouraging especially when they know people are coming and working hard to adapt to Canadian society and start their lives all over. They really are working hard.”
Andrew Brodersen says he wants those visiting the centre to know they are welcomed with open arms.