Violence and vandalism against queer and black communities in PEI. always happen

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — Lucky Fusca is concerned about several recent incidents of vandalism and hate that have targeted queer and black communities on the island.

As president of Pride PEI, Fusca was heavily involved in the 2022 Pride Festival, which wrapped up last week.

On the final day of the festival, however, a protester protested outside the Delta Prince Edward, where Pride in the Park was being held.

Fusca recognized the protester when they saw him. He had previously come to Fusca’s former workplace, Luna, to distribute religious flyers, telling Fusca that they eventually had to “accept Jesus” or end up in hell.

On the night of the Pride event, he was shouting similar things at festival attendees, including a young girl, Fusca said.

Another festival attendee eventually called the police and three officers arrived. After some back and forth, police were finally able to get the protester to leave, Fusca said.

While Fusca was particularly concerned about the impact this might have on the young girl, Fusca found one positive outcome: how the queer community stepped up to help.

“A few of my friends were already standing in front of this individual and had a pride flag they were trying to hold up in front of him so he couldn’t be seen or heard,” they said.

In one look

Here are some of the recent incidents of vandalism targeting gay and racialized people:

  • Arson of a pride flag.
  • Two incidents of attempted arson of the home of a member of the queer community.
  • Graffiti of a Pride Festival sign.
  • Racist graffiti from two signs in Andrew’s Millpond.

Source: Charlottetown Police Department social media posts and press releases

More Incidents

The past month has seen other similar incidents.

In early July, a local drag performer was assaulted on his way home. While the victim was not trailing at the time of the attack, he told SaltWire he knew the attacker from previous issues. He declined an interview.

Police arrested a suspect shortly after the attack.

Later in July, an arsonist targeted the home of another local drag performer. Police have charged someone with arson and another incident.

“There’s this feeling of ‘Was that specifically me being targeted, which means there’s always that target on my back specifically? Or, was it just a hate crime that could have happened to anyone and it was just me? Fusca said. “In either case, you feel very unsafe in this world.”

Towards the end of the Pride Festival, a vandal also spray painted one of the festival signs in Charlottetown.

Bigger problem

The queer community, however, hasn’t been the only target of hate over the past month.

Patrick McNutt was walking around when he saw the graffiti: The ‘N-word’, spray-painted on a pair of plaques at Andrew’s Pond in the East Royalty neighborhood of Charlottetown.

He took a photo and shared it on the Ask PEI Facebook group, which has more than 29,000 members.

Some commentators have suggested it was just random vandalism – teenagers trying to get pissed off.

McNutt responded to some of them, he said in a July 27 SaltWire interview.

“I kind of argued that, ‘Yeah, it could be. But if I’m a person of color walking past this sign, am I going to feel safe walking in my own neighborhood? ?”

As a white person who found a hateful message to a larger community, he just wants to do his part and doesn’t want to be at the center of the story, he said.

While McNutt can’t be sure the graffiti he found is part of a larger pattern, he is concerned about the impact such messages may have on children.

In fact, McNutt saw a young black girl on the same walk when he found the graffiti, he said.

“I am a white person. I may not really have the right perspective on this but, big or small, just a few cases or a whole bunch of cases, there shouldn’t be.

SaltWire reached out to local advocacy organizations BIPOC USHR and the Black Cultural Society of PEI for comment on the racist graffiti incidents, but did not receive a timely response.

While the incidents in question appear to target marginalized communities, SaltWire has also received reports of an increase in general vandalism in the Sherwood area.

SaltWire has emailed and left a phone message with Charlottetown Police Department asking if there has been an increase in reported vandalism and if they separately track vandalism that appears hateful or politically motivated.

CPS did not respond when this story was filed.

Fusca, however, hopes to see the police investigate and find out why these things are happening.

“Unless you have a reason why… it would be difficult to prevent this from happening again, then hopefully the police can objectively go there.”

Logan MacLean is a reporter for SaltWire Network in Charlottetown.

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