Dear friends,

Almost every morning on my drive to work, I hit a red light on the corner of Greene Street and Friendly Ave. It gives me just enough time to pause and look at the Pride flag flying in front of the LGBTQ Center. Seeing that flag centers me and reminds me that regardless of how daunting my task list is or how many meetings I have ahead of me, at the end of the day I’m leaving a place that is more than a building. It’s a place for LGBTQ people to be seen, and heard, and valued.

Yesterday our flag was gone. Left behind was a broken flagpole that dangled from the building above a city recycling bin that was used to climb up and rip down our flag.

It was a gut-punch.

In the two years since we opened the Center, this is the first time we have experienced an act of vandalism or aggression against us. It was personal and it was intentional.

Suddenly my day was filled with incident reports and video surveillance. The hardest part was holding a staff meeting to remind everyone that the physical space where we work is seen as a threat to a growing number of people and that we must be vigilant to keep our guests and ourselves safe.

By the time 5 o’clock rolled around I was weary, but I needed to put my head down at my desk and try to get caught up on all the things that had been pushed aside while we dealt with the vandalism.

For most people, the office is quiet after 5 pm, but that’s not the case for us because Thursday is youth night at the LGBTQ Center, and we host programs from 6-8PM.  While I worked in my office, I was increasingly aware of people laughing and talking in the main room. By 6pm ,the noise was so loud that I couldn’t concentrate any longer, so I closed my computer and left my desk to investigate.

I found the center full of teenagers laughing and playing games with our staff and volunteers. It was loud and it was joyful, and it was beautiful.

It was an instant reminder of why we all work so hard protect the LGBTQ Center.

Many people have reached out to ask if they can pay to replace our flag. The truth is, we keep a few in stock so that we can immediately replace if needed and we were able to make repairs and raise a new flag before the youth arrived yesterday evening.

You can help by sending a message that discrimination has no place in our city:

With Pride,

Jennifer Ruppe,

Executive Director

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We are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons pictured. On January 26th at 9:15pm, these individuals climbed on a recycling bin and ripped down our Pride flag causing property damage. We fly the Pride flag outside of the LGBTQ center to celebrate Greensboro’s diversity. This act of intentional vandalism can not be ignored anytime or anywhere and especially not when it is directed at a safe place for LGBTQ people. Call 336-790-8419 if you have information about this crime or the identity of the criminals.

Click here to view the surveillance video on Facebook.