Summerland Unity Mural Complete
July 2020, the Lekhi family home in Summerland was targeted with racist graffiti, and rocks were thrown through the windows in what police described as hate-motivated vandalism. Similar hateful graffiti was also discovered in Summerland’s Memorial Park bandshell that same month. These incidents were well documented by local and provincial media outlets. Very quickly, an overwhelming outpouring of support towards the Lekhi family from the community of Summerland emerged as people spoke out against these acts. The Lekhi family decided to direct the donations given for repairs to the home to a GoFundMe page they created, with the intention of setting a fundraising goal to go towards a “mural, a large sign or another eternal symbol that can be placed in the community.”
During the past school year, School District 67 has partnered with the Lekhi family through an Anti-Racism Working group. The focus of the working group has been to enact a process where the Lekhi family could work with District staff and partner groups in support of the family’s intention to engage an artist to create a mural or art installation of some kind on District property that celebrates the community of Summerland and its diversity.
After releasing a Call to Artists in June that supported the Lekhi family’s initial intention to create a mural that can serve as a “symbol of unity, a celebration of diversity and a reflection of the positivity that resonates in Summerland”, a submission from Kelowna based artists was selected. The artists are currently working on the installation on the east wall of Summerland Middle School and plan to have the work completed by Sunday, September 5.
The Board of Education is appreciative of the opportunity to partner with the Lekhi family on this project, and the District remains committed to providing safe, welcoming school environments that are inclusive and affirming for all students, staff, and community members. Anti-Racism education, and efforts to ensure that the culture, beliefs and ancestry of all students and staff are accepted, celebrated, and understood is an important component of this commitment.
As the current Interior Health Regional Health Order will not allow a large community celebration at this time, the Lekhi family is inviting members of the media to visit Summerland Middle School to see the installation on Sunday September 5 at 10:00 a.m. for a photo opportunity of the completed mural.