This past year, Women Transforming Cities joined a reckoning of entrenched racism within our communities, magnified by the conditions surrounding COVID-19. As a women’s advocacy organization, we are committed to helping build safer cities. One component of safer cities is the impact of offensive public signage on communities, and how it intersects with our mission for safer cities.
A WTC community member recently informed us of an offensive signage above a prominent Vancouver restaurant on Main and 17th that has been around for the past 5 years, where the signage quoted a line from Full Metal Jacket entrenched in anti-Asian racism and misogyny.
We began an internal campaign to bring the sign down. Thanks to the business owner and the prompt action of Vancouver City Council, we are happy to say that the sign has been replaced. We thank Vancouver City Council for supporting us, and the business for understanding why it was an important change for the community.
We hope this is one of the many public space signages and names that are changed as we reflect on the role of language and place names in upholding racism, colonialism and misogyny.