Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mayor blasts rainbow crossing vandals

Gisborne District Council Mayor, Rehette Stoltz says the destruction of a rainbow crossing in the CBD only serves to “fuel hatred and division between people”.

The rainbow crossing was painted onto the central location shortly before Christmas 2021.

“Since then it has been a solid message that we are an inclusive region,” said Mayor Stoltz.

“We accept that people hold different views however there is no place for hate or bigotry in Tairāwhiti.

“Gisborne District Council strongly condemns the vandalism.”

On Monday night, a group of protestors – believed to be associated with Destiny Church – applied white paint over the crossing ahead of a planned drag queen storytime event at Gisborne HB Williams Library.

The Mayor confirmed that the Council will be reinstating the rainbow crossing “as quickly as we can”.

“We absolutely object to individuals interfering with our road markings and the safety of people on our roads,” she said.

“We will be working with the Police to make those involved accountable and seeking reparations for the cost of the work.

“We stand in solidarity with the rainbow community and strongly support the message of the rainbow crossing as well as the Kaupapa of the library event.

“This kind of visibility of acceptance saves lives. We are very mindful of the struggle some of our young people face when there is no recognition for them as they explore their identities. “Rainbows are representative of joy for everyone.”

The Mayor said Council has every intention of moving forward with the planned drag queen event at the HB Williams Library and have completed a full risk assessment of the venue.

“Police will be present at the event and protestors have been warned they are not to prevent anyone entering the library,” she said.

“I would like to clarify that the library’s programming decisions are made with the intent to provide a wide range of educational and cultural opportunities that reflect the diversity of our community.

“The event in question was designed to offer perspectives on gender diversity and inclusion, topics that are increasingly being recognised as important areas of public discourse.

“Our aim is to foster a space for open dialogue, learning, and understanding on a variety of subjects.

“It’s also important to note that the day-to-day operations and event programming at the library do not fall under the direct purview of governance or involve voting by councillors or the public.

“Our staff are committed to selecting programmes that educate, inform, and entertain while respecting the broad spectrum of views held by our patrons.

“We recognise that not every programme will align with the personal values of every community member, but we strive to maintain a balanced and inclusive calendar of events that serve the varied interests of our community as a whole.”

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