COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW
Summerside couple continues successful rainbow campaign to encourage acceptance
Summerside couple continues successful campaign to encourage acceptance
Meaghan Roberts pulls the bandana over her face. Her husband, Andrew Birch, holding the canvas is in position and has his mask secured.
The cap snaps off the can and red mist sprays onto a rectangular strip of cement.
Another rainbow been has started.
“This isn’t in response to something. It was inspired by what we saw going on in our community,” said Birch.
For the past week, the duo has been travelling around Summerside spray-painting rainbows on the doorsteps of homeowners who want to show support for the LGBTQ community and inspire support for acceptance and love within the city.
Their initiative came shortly after an online sparring match between Pride supporters and those opposed on Facebook.
“I was really upset when I saw what was being said by people in and outside of our community. But, Andrew said instead of being angry about it why don’t we do something about it. We wanted to do something peaceful and wonderful.
“To me it doesn’t just have to be about the Pride community. It’s showing others where the people in Summerside stand on intolerance, love and acceptance. It’s about providing safe spaces for all people to be. After all, rainbows are for everyone,” said Roberts.
Yesterday, the two were out late spray-painting in the dark so they could complete their list of rainbows for the day.
So far, they’ve gone through 15 cans of paint, painted about 50 rainbows and are scheduled for at least another 50 in the next
“I was really upset when I saw what was being said by people in and outside of our community. But, Andrew said instead of being angry about it why don’t we do something about it. We wanted to do something peaceful and wonderful.” Meaghan Roberts
Roberts and Birch never thought their project would reach this scope.
“When I put it on Facebook that I bought some spray paint, I was worried we were going to have lots left over. But that’s not the case, there has been an overwhelming response,” said Birch.
Birch said seeing the rainbows around the city reminds him of when the Neighbourhood Watch signs filled his community as a young boy.
“It gives me that feeling that if I were in trouble I could go to that house and no matter what I am, gay or straight, and they would help me and stand by me. It’s supporting everyone in our community.”
Roberts said the action provided a voice for the voiceless.
“There are a number of people who might feel voiceless or segregated or alone. But these rainbows show that everyone is welcome in this community.
“Anybody can make a difference. Kindness is in all of our grasps. We all have the power to make positive change in this world.”
Roberts and Birch say their efforts remind them of their parents.
“My mom always told me when I was little, ‘all it takes for evil to flourish is for a good man to do nothing’.”
Christine Lykow was walking on the sidewalk when she saw Roberts and Birch painting a rainbow.
“What they’re doing is incredible. It’s so important for people to speak out and raise their voice. I’m all for what they’ve got going on.
“I’ve always told my son, you don’t have to like everyone, but you will have to co-exist.’ That rainbow, to me, is a sign of coexistence.”
Andrew Birch, left, and Meaghan Roberts are shown with their finished rainbow on the porch step of a Summerside home. The duo has been spraypainting rainbows on porches and driveways to encourage acceptance in Summerside.