I have received this discouraging news from the Board chair of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. Come on Mississippi Mills — we are better than this.

I also see that a GoFundMe page, ‘United Against Hate in Almonte’,  set up only a few hours ago, has already brought in almost three times the requested replacement cost of a replacement flag.

As an arts & heritage institution, the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum is committed to inclusivity.  We strive to build community in all our operations and we try to recognize diversity wherever we can.

As part of our ongoing work, we choose to fly the PRIDE flag to indicate this commitment and our support for all, regardless of sexuality, gender or identity.  We were proud to be part of this year’s celebration of PRIDE, and we welcomed the Mayor’s support in declaring this June PRIDE month in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills.

Even if we couldn’t hold a parade or social events we could show our support and take part in online events and help shape plans for other years.  We could bring our commitment to diversity and inclusion to Almonte and build a community outside our museum walls.

That’s why it was so disappointing to find that the PRIDE flag had been removed from its place at the front of the museum and found shredded in a nearby park.

It is apparent that not everyone in Almonte shares our commitment to inclusivity and diversity. It is disheartening to find that someone in the community felt that vandalism was a necessary action.

We want all our Museum allies to feel safe in supporting the Museum.  We want our staff, volunteers, members, and students to feel that they are secure and that they matter.

We also know that this act is not representative of the entire community of Almonte.  We have always been proud to be a part of Almonte, and the act of a very small minority will not change that.

This act of vandalism makes us sad and wary, but we will not give up.  Our commitment remains and we will continue to work for diversity.

This act only serves to show us that we have more work to do.

Lizz Thrasher, Chair of the Board of Directors
Mississippi Valley Textile Museum