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'I was gutted': Rainbow sidewalk in front of central Alberta church vandalized

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Police are investigating after the United Church in Ponoka was vandalized on Thursday.

Mounties say someone threw eggs and splattered tar and an unknown substance on the rainbow sidewalk leading to the church.

"I was gutted, shattered, just really demoralized," said Jessica Jones of the Ponoka Pride Society.

Members of the church congregation first painted the steps in 2020, to show solidarity with the LGBTQ2S+ community.

Graham Boys of the church said he's disappointed someone would vandalize the steps, particularly during Pride month.

"I'm glad that the people who did this, targeted us, and not an actual at-risk person because sidewalks can be repainted," he told CTV News Edmonton.

On Friday, community members came out to clean and repaint the sidewalk. 

Community members clean and repaint the rainbow sidewalk in front of the United Church in Ponoka after it was vandalized. (Nav Sangha/CTV News Edmonton)

"Our community comes together. It always has, and we have a supportive and inclusive community," Jones said.

Recently elected Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Jennifer Johnson was invited to help repaint the steps.

Johnson made headlines during the election campaign after a video surfaced of her comparing trans children to feces in food.

Jones said she wanted to give Johnson the opportunity to show her support.

"I think she's scared, and she's scared to show her face around these issues because she needed to distance herself from them."

Johnson did not appear on Friday while the steps were repainted.

Jones said her comments only encourage this type of vandalism.

"When a leader elicits hate, I think certain things like this will happen."

In the wake of the incident, the Ponoka Pride Society has announced its hosting a Pride in the Park event on June 10 from 12 to 4 p.m. at Centennial Park in Ponoka.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Ponoka RCMP at 403-783-4471 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Ponoka is about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha 

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