Rainbow-powered car

Bryce Grammer / Washburn Review

A rainbow-colored Volkswagen Beetle isn’t something you see every day. Even less common is one with the word “Fagbug” written on the side of it.

Hate is a powerful emotion and acts of hate can have a huge impact on those it’s directed at. Perhaps the person who spray-painted the word “fag” on the side of Erin Davis’s car hoped the act of vandalism would make an impact on her. If so, mission accomplished. Davis decided to make something positive out of this negative act.

April 17, 2007, Davis entered her vandalized vehicle in Troy, N.Y., and embarked on a year-long road trip with the graffiti still intact. Davis decided to keep it there, determined to rise above it.  She also brought a video camera to document her ambitious trek across the nation. That footage resulted in the release of the movie “Fagbug,” in 2009. Davis is traveling to Washburn this week where she will hold a free showing of her documentary followed by a question and answer session.

Throughout her journey Davis was met with opposition. She had windows broken out more than once. Hateful notes were left under her windshield wiper and there were several attempts at scraping the word off of her car. Probably by those who were unhappy about her ability to draw strength from something meant to tear her down. Each time the word was tampered with. Davis re-sprayed it. Eventually she decided a more permanent look for the “Fagbug,” was needed. The resulting makeover produced the car’s current look.

Her mission statement is “To raise awareness about hate crimes and homophobia in our society, to give a voice for those who are silent, to inspire others to take a stand against bullies and to be an example of how to overcome obstacles in bringing a creative project to life.” These issues have an effect on everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. Who on earth hasn’t had to deal with a bully at least once in their lives or been faced with the need to overcome adversity.

The showing of “Fagbug” followed by an open Q & A session with Davis is free to the public. It will take place Thursday, April 8 at 5 p.m. in Henderson Learning Resource Center room 112. The event is sponsored by Washburn’s student organization, OPEN (Open-Minded, Positive, Equality, Non-Discriminative).