Adam Easterbrook and his partner were in their Richmond condominium watching what was taking place in Ukrainian and knew they wanted to do something to show their support.
He decided to make two handmade flags using computer paper, to hang on his street-facing window. He tried to buy a flag but the shop was sold out.
"I think it is important because the symbols that people see every day matters to them,” he says. "By putting up these sorts of symbols, we are showing solidarity.”
The two small flags went up Sunday night; by Monday morning, management at the condominium building called Easterbrook, telling him to take the signs down.
In an email, shared with Glacier Media, a building manager tells Easterbrook "we cannot open this box as everyone will then want to display flags, signs, etc. for everything. If you allow this, we must allow everyone to do the same, which is against our bylaws and [would] create tension and political mess within the property."
Glacier Media reached out to building management by phone and email but did not receive a response by publication time.
"I felt like if there was ever a time to advertise our support, now is the time. There’s 40 million people who are potentially losing their way of life, there’s people dying, there’s loss of culture, there’s trauma, there’s potentially millions of people who are being put out of their country, becoming refugees,” says Easterbrook.
"If now isn’t a time to support the Ukrainian people, I don’t know when is.”
Taking down the small flags did not sit well with him, so he came up with a creative substitution.
"What we did was moved our lights close to the blinds and we made it so that the lights in the bedroom and office are blue and then these ones are yellow. At night, it looks pretty cool. It looks like the Ukrainian colours,” Easterbrook explains.
He purchased six blue and yellow lightbulbs and swapped out the white ones.
“It's disappointing we couldn’t do it during the day and have it 24 hours a day, but our hope was by engaging that kind of subversive act, hopefully we could demonstrate that we don’t agree with what they’re saying and there’s other ways around it and we are going to show support one way or another.”
Easterbrook is aware they could face a fine for having the signs up; he says he'd give the money to the Red Cross instead of building management.
“Obviously, there are a lot of Ukrainians living in Canada. I can’t even imagine how horrible this is for them.”
Even if one person sees his lights, Easterbrook will be satisfied.
"It’s just a small act that we are doing, I don’t think we are doing anything spectacular. We are doing what we can, but that small act can hopefully create change and help people feel like they belong.”
Going forward, he hopes the building will reconsider the bylaw and be more flexible.