On the first evening of Pride Month, recognized every June, acknowledging LGBTQ+ identities, culture, and experience, an unidentified individual targeted Lassen Family Services by graffitiing hate speech against the Pride Flag flown outside the Building on Riverside Drive.
The words eluded to specific colors on the flag as ones that correlate to a group of people who sexually abuse children. Those at Lassen Family Services say this is simply not factual and that the services provided by the non-profit are offered to everyone, as LFS is a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis agency, and anyone can be affected by abuse.
One person visiting the offices said about the graffiti, “It’s sad how uneducated some people can be; it’s baffling; people should really educate themselves and understand what the pride flag truly is and see the bigger picture, equality.” The flag was created in 2018 based on the iconic 1978 rainbow flag, which includes stripes of black and brown to represent marginalized LGBTQ+ people of color as well as the triad of blue, pink, and white from the trans flag; the design is meant to represent diversity and inclusion, according to Outright International.
Angela Reed, Executive Director of Lassen Family Services, said she is “shocked by the audacity and completely saddened by the ignorance and hatred,” Adding, “It all stems from fear. ” Reed says the Police department came first thing this morning to investigate and has reviewed security footage, with no leads. Details of the person’s description and clothing are being withheld until further confirmation. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime as the words specifically target the Pride Flag.
Kendra Zaengle, with Lassen Family Services, says they feel strongly that this is the same individual from last year who tagged the building with harsh words towards the LGBTQ+ community. Reed confirmed last year a man had tagged the building, sent a hate letter, and cut the flag line multiple times throughout the month.
The non-profit is asking the community to come together to show there is more support than hate for the LGBTQ+ community by coming out and helping paint over the graffiti. If you would like to join, you can do so Monday morning at 9 am.
They share that if you want to learn more about who and what the effects of abuse of children is, there will be a workshop held this month, with the date still to be determined.
When asked why LFS was the target of the hate crime, Reed said it’s all because the flag was flown and believes it would have happened wherever it was flown.