Chilliwack school board byelection candidate Adam Suleman has suggested that race may have motivated vandals who damaged several of his election signs earlier this week.
“This is what happens when a brown man decides to run in a Chilliwack School Board by-election,” he wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday night. “Most of my signs were vandalized today and I am heartbroken to see that this happened.”
“There has never been a visible minority on the school board and if elected, I would be the first one,” he added in a separate post. “It is heartbreaking that people would go out their way to prevent a valuable perspective from joining the board when bullying and discrimination are such significant problems in our schools and on our school board.
The Simon Fraser University student said he filed a police report, and in another FB post on the Promontory Community page, he asked if anyone witnessed the vandalism.
“If you happened to see anyone vandalizing the signs yesterday or you live near Highroad or Alpine and have security cameras facing the Teskey Way/Promontory Road intersection, please send me a message,” he said.
Reponse to Suleman’s posts were mostly supportive and sympathetic, and one person asked him why he thought the damage was racially motivated.
“Messages that I have received on social media and the fact that my signs were the only ones repeatedly targeted throughout the day (and others nearby were left alone) lead me to believe this,” he replied.
Suleman’s signs may not be the only ones being targeted, however. One FB poster suggested that Carin Bondar’s signs have also been damaged.
“This is atrocious and disgusting. I am so sorry this has happened,” Margaret Reid wrote. “Many of Carin’s signs have been smashed and stolen and I have been volunteering time to replace and repair them when I can. If you need a volunteer to help with your signs do not hesitate to send me a message and I will do what I can. This should not happen.”
The byelection will be held Feb. 13 and the winner will fill the seat left vacant by Dan Coulter, who is now a provincial MLA representing the Chilliwack riding.