Penticton shop owner speaks out against vandalism to Black Lives Matter sign - InfoNews

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Penticton shop owner speaks out against vandalism to Black Lives Matter sign

Adhoc owner Gini Bray with her business sign.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ADhoc
July 05, 2020 - 5:55 PM

Gini Bray climbed up to the signboard above her Penticton store and formed the words Black Lives Matter in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.

She was moved like countless others to raise her voice against the injustices Black and Indigenous people face daily and was living up to the goal she set when she opened her business. That is to “do well by doing good.”

Her store, adhoc, features female-owned and operated companies that choose to produce ethically, locally, on a small scale — to make certain that people and the environment are protected and respected.

Black and Indigenous lives are part of that larger picture.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Last night our sign was vandalized. Some moron with a hall pass felt comfortable enough to get up there & take BLACK down. I didn’t want to rain on all the Invasion Celebrations happening this week, choosing instead to believe that North America has a lot of good to offer. It’s appropriate that this vandalism happened on July 4th. The hate and violence that the Trump administration is encouraging all over the world, it can only be stopped by the American people. No more emancipated, enlightened articles, no more talk. Here at adhoc we are verbally assaulted daily about the Black Lives Matter sign. It’s worth noting that we are a town of maybe 40 thousand in rural Canadian wine country. Trump is spending July 4th celebrating US exceptionalism by rubbing Indigenous faces in bigotry and hate. Mount Rushmore was deliberately carved into Sioux territory, sacred territory, central to their culture. Cultural genocide is real, Indigenous peoples in Canada and America have been maliciously, intentionally, methodically decimated since first contact, by white men, preaching Freedom & Justice for All. This Mount Rushmore display deserves such outrage, I’m not seeing it. America was colonized, viciously, with the full support of its Founding Fathers. There has been an anti lynching bill before Congress for over 100 years - still not passed. What we’re celebrating July 1st & 4th should be freedom for all, freedom from abusive government, not unchallenged hypocrisy. I’m disgusted. I’m disheartened. I’m angry. I never imagined equality could be such an incendiary idea. I’m ashamed of my culture. Own your mistakes. I hope some more businesses in town will use their voices to support this movement, to push for change. We need to care about this, publicly. Thank you to the local RCMP for calling me back so quickly, for taking this seriously, and for committing to increased patrols. adhoc will be donating to @spiritnorthxc to support and encourage Indigenous youth leadership. We encourage you to join us, a link will be in our bio. To a better future, together, in equality. With love, gini

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"Together we stand, divided we fall — and we have to say it out loud," Bray said. "We have to speak it, not just have it in your heart somehow."

The sign, however, sparked a surprising backlash that's played out over and over since it went up.

"Maria, who works at my store, has short white hair and is clearly a woman in her 60s," Bray said.

"She was cleaning the door when a guy came up and yelled at her so intensely, five inches from her face, about how offensive the sign is. It was so aggressive a passerby circled back and asked her if she was OK — and it happens constantly in this little, tiny town."

Regardless, she had no intention of taking it down.

"I struggle with the silence," she said. "I wouldn’t walk down the street and watch somebody get beat up and not do anything. But that's happening and it keeps happening."

While she wasn't going to remove the sign, others had a different idea and last night, July 4, someone vandalized her sign leaving only "Lives Matter" up when the sun rose. It's a feat that she said would have taken some effort.

It's something she took to her Instagram account to explain and speak out against and the post has taken off like wildfire.

"Some moron with a hall pass felt comfortable enough to get up there & take BLACK down. I didn’t want to rain on all the Invasion Celebrations happening this week, choosing instead to believe that North America has a lot of good to offer," she wrote on Instagram.

"It’s appropriate that this vandalism happened on July 4. The hate and violence that the Trump administration is encouraging all over the world, it can only be stopped by the American people. No more emancipated, enlightened articles, no more talk. Here at adhoc we are verbally assaulted daily about the Black Lives Matter sign. It’s worth noting that we are a town of maybe 40,000 in rural Canadian wine country. Trump is spending July 4th celebrating US exceptionalism by rubbing Indigenous faces in bigotry and hate."

Referring to Trump's speech at Mount Rushmore, Bray explained he chose that the carving was done into the Sioux's sacred territory, central to their culture.

"Cultural genocide is real, Indigenous peoples in Canada and America have been maliciously, intentionally, methodically decimated since first contact, by white men, preaching freedom and justice for all. This Mount Rushmore display deserves such outrage, I’m not seeing it. America was colonized, viciously, with the full support of its founding fathers. There has been an anti lynching bill before Congress for over 100 years — still not passed. What we’re celebrating July 1st & 4th should be freedom for all, freedom from abusive government, not unchallenged hypocrisy. I’m disgusted. I’m disheartened. I’m angry. I never imagined equality could be such an incendiary idea."

Bray hopes she's not alone in her anger.

"I hope some more businesses in town will use their voices to support this movement, to push for change," she wrote.

"We need to care about this, publicly. Thank you to the local RCMP for calling me back so quickly, for taking this seriously, and for committing to increased patrols. adhoc will be donating to @spiritnorthxc to support and encourage Indigenous youth leadership. We encourage you to join us, a link will be in our bio. To a better future, together, in equality."

Since she wrote the post, hundreds have shown their support, and that, to some degree, made a difference.

"It's lonely speaking out," she said.

"My whole life has been invested in the idea that 'life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others,'" she said,m quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"It has always informed everything I have ever done... If I end up bankrupt because I said Black Lives Matter, well that will be a life well-lived."


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