Family removes hate speech from walkway at Gander park

Published on August 16, 2017

While on a family fun day to Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park in Gander, a Musgrave Harbour family came across a series of derogatory words drawn in chalk along the walkway. The family took it upon themselves to clean it up.

©Submitted photo

GANDER, NL – A string of derogatory words found along a walkway at Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park in Gander turned a family fun day into a very serious conversation about how powerful and hurtful words can be.

With the words containing homophobic slurs and curse words, mother Elle Prada used the experience as a way of teaching her children about how hurtful these words can be to others and why they shouldn’t use them.
Submitted photo

Elle Prada, along with her nine-year-old son Jacob and seven-year-old daughter Lilly, have been taking on one project per week during the summer months, and on Wednesday they were at the park for a scavenger hunt.

After making the hour-long commute into Gander, the Musgrave Harbour family decided to have a bathroom break before heading out.

Upon leaving the facilities, Prada noticed between eight to 10 chalk messages along the walkways. In large letters, she said, the words spelled out homophobic slurs and curse words.

“It’s not something I find appropriate for a family trail,” Prada said.

So the family took the initiative to remove the words with water they had on hand.

Given the events that unfolded during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which resulted in 32-year-old Heather Heyer being killed and dozens of others injured, Prada used the experience as an opportunity to teach.

“It’s our responsibility to teach children about the powerful and hurtful messages behind these words and to teach about acceptance and the strength not to use them,” said Prada. “Because unless children are taught that these words are hurtful, they won’t know any better.”