Hateful LRT graffiti replaced by messages of love during Calgary's morning commute
Young Calgarians bring giant hearts, positive messages to cover spray paint urging violence against Muslims
When they heard about anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled across public and private property at a northwest transit station, these young Calgary residents decided to replace the hateful words with messages of love.
Bilal Sher said he and his friends initially headed to the Tuscany LRT station late Thursday night — with the intent to cover over gold spray paint urging violence against Syrians and Muslims — with giant red hearts and posters bearing messages of tolerance.
- Syrian Refugees: The nuts and bolts of welcoming the newest Calgarians
- LRT graffiti a hate crime, say police with 'good footage' of 2 suspects
- 7 ways you can help Syrian refugees settle in Calgary
But when they arrived, they found city officials already well into the process of removing the graffiti and were told by bylaw officers they need a permit to hang up posters, something they couldn't get at such a late hour.
So, the group decided to bring their message of positivity to morning commuters in person, instead.
"We were told we could stand, hold our posters and spread the cheer," Sher told CBC Calgary via a Facebook message.
"Maybe it'll brighten someone's day or give them something positive to think about!"
Nadir Khan, who held a sign bearing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. — "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend" — said he and his friends wanted to overpower the messages of hate with something stronger.
"We decided to do this as a little remedy to the whole thing that happened here yesterday at Tuscany station, where the whole station was vandalized with anti-Syrian refugee and anti-Muslim graffiti all over the walls and windows," Khan said.
"We just want to show that the youth can do something positive … and we want to show that people may be doing bad things, but realistically, as a community, we can overcome it and we can do something better for the community."
The sentiment seemed to be well received by Friday-morning commuters, who tweeted their approval.
<a href="https://twitter.com/CBCEyeopener">@CBCEyeopener</a> after the horrible graffiti at Tuscany station yesterday there are young men with kind messages this morning.—@maxcat98
<a href="https://twitter.com/calgarytransit">@calgarytransit</a> I was running late for class but whatever they were doing at Tuscany this morning made my day. I saw hearts & kind faces.—@KomalAamirAyub
Just came from the graffitied Tuscany LRT where young people are holding signs proclaiming live and peace. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MyCalgary?src=hash">#MyCalgary</a>—@Kathleen_Ralph