Pride flags outside northeast Edmonton home burned and stolen
EDMONTON -- Several Pride flags were stolen or burned throughout this week at a northeast Edmonton home.
Joni Johnson told CTV News Edmonton she proudly displayed a Pride flag at the start of this week in front of her house to celebrate her daughter who recently came out.
“I took a picture of it, I sent it to her right away,” Johnson recalled. “I was very excited.”
Johnson said the flag was stolen from her home a few hours later.
“It literally was only there for hours and it was stolen.”
For her, the only reasonable thing to do was buy and place even more flags in her front yard.
“I put one back in the garden container where the original one was and I taped two together and I put them in the tree,” she said.
Then when Johnson stepped outside her home Tuesday morning the flags were not where she left them.
“That’s when I found the three flags I had put out were torn down, they were burned,” Johnson said.
She added that the sticks the flags were left on her front steps in the shape of the letter ‘F.’
When Johnson realized what had happened she said she was in complete shock.
“Completely unbelievable,” she shared. “It was devastating. I was in disbelief.”
Johnson reported the incidents to police and considered making an even bigger Pride display but ultimately reconsidered.
“I don’t want to escalate the hate and that’s what I was afraid of,” she told CTV News Edmonton. “I don’t want my neighbours to be a victim of that too.”
Johnson’s neighbour Anita Lakusta said she loved seeing support for Pride in the neighbourhood and that the incidents of vandalism left her feeling disappointed.
“It kinda left a yucky feeling in your stomach, because I mean we’re just here to support people in our community and lift those people up who have been historically and still to this day persecuted for loving people and just being themselves,” Lakusta said.
“That was a deliberate attack and it felt really personal and close to home,” she added. “It was actually kinda scary.”
To Johnson, the Pride flag is an important symbol of love and acceptance.
“To me, the Pride flag is not just a celebration of the community,” she said. “It’s a symbol of unconditional love and acceptance for everybody.”
Johnson said despite the incidents of vandalism, she will always have a Pride flag in her yard to support her daughter.
“No matter where you go in the world, you’re going to come across intolerance and hate but I wanted to let her know that you’re never going to find that here.”