ALDERGROVE (NEWS 1130) – An Aldergrove woman’s pride flag was stolen from her home for the third time in three weeks.
Lisa Ebenal first hung up her flag earlier this month.
It’s already been stolen twice and Friday morning it was stolen again, leaving her devastated.She says security footage shows someone riding a bike taking the flag from her fence.
After the previous thefts, neighbours hung their own rainbow flags in solidarity but Ebenal says none of their flags are being similarly targeted.
“They only took the ones that were on my house which is strange because there’s one on right on the fence across the street but that one wasn’t touched,” she says.
Her flag was also removed once by the Township of Langley after an anonymous complaint.
This will be the fourth time that Ebenal has had to replace her flag.
Flags are an important symbol of solidarity, safety
Colin McKenna, the President of PFLAG Vancouver, says he recognized Ebenal as an ally and reached out to her after he learned that her flag was first stolen.
“She is an absolutely fantastic, lovely individual who just wanted to do something nice for her neighbours. She has neighbours who are a gay couple who have been together for 36 years and she just felt strongly that she wanted to support them,” he says.
He wants people who live in the valley to hang their own flags to show their support for Ebenal and the LGBTQ community.
“It’s clear that a majority of the people living in Alisa’s neighbourhood and in the valley are in support of inclusion, are in support of diversity,” he says.
McKenna also says that the Fraser Valley is home to some vocal opponents of LGBTQ rights and when he was growing up there it was sometimes a hostile environment.
“One of the things the flags represents is a place of safety,” he adds. “If somebody has hung up that flag we know we can walk in there and be okay. We don’t have to fear for our lives, for our partners.”
Donations being collected, flags replaced
Susan Braverman, the president of the Flag Shop in Vancouver, says she was shocked when she heard about the repeated thefts.
“It’s not okay. She’s not breaking any laws,” she says. “It’s a beautiful flag.”
Braverman says she will be delivering a box of flags to Ebenal’s home so she can give them out to supportive neighbours this weekend.
“Sure, I could give her another flag but I felt like that wasn’t going to do any good,” she says. “So I said ‘I’m going to give you a box of 25 so they can be donated, we can give them away.'”
Those interested can get a flag by making a donation. Proceeds will go to PFLAG, an organization offering supports to the LGBTQ community.