This past weekend, I was asked to create a mural and slogan for an organization that I have been volunteering with for the past year or so.  The mural was supposed to reflect what some might consider to be a controversial topic - a sexually transmitted disease - and generate awareness about it.  I had about a week's notice to come up with some ideas for the mural and okay them with the person I report to.  The text that I came up with was intended to catch peoples' attention but it was not graphic, it promoted smart decisions and education, and it was approved by the person I report to.  

Another volunteer and I spent a better part of Saturday working on this mural - many people who passed by us commented that it was really well done and that they liked the message we were trying to get across.  Today, however, I received an email from the person I report to that said that the mural had to be taken down because it had made some people unhappy.  The email also said from now on when I volunteer to stick to messages that talk about healthy choices.  I think reading that made me even more unhappy than the so-called unhappy people for several reasons:
a) The mural did promote well-being
b) I am usually a very good judge of what could be considered controversial and always try to present matter in a positive, informative, and tasteful manner (having worked in advertising and having to adhere to strict CRTC guidelines)
c) According to the Public Health Agency of Canada,   Saskatchewan has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 
d) Seeing Saskatchewan has such high rates of STIs, it could be assumed that current messages about healthy choices are ineffective

In my opinion, I do not feel that the mural we created should have been taken down.  I feel that it wasn't given a fair chance to get enough, diverse feedback.  If more time had passed and the consensus was that the mural was still inappropriate, then I would definitely reconsider it.  I guess this is just a taste of some of the things I might encounter in the school system in the future.  I worry that I will be silenced because I want to do or say things a little differently than how they have always been done.  Is there a happy medium when it comes to saying what you know is right and doing what others think is right?
 


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