Hate crime against the LBGTQ+ community spurs call for solidarity

The Pride Flag flies at Lassen Family Services only to be stolen the next day.

Lassen Family services acknowledges someone stole the U.S. Flag, the California Flag and the Pride Flag from its flagpole. LFS also said the theft had been reported to the Susanville Police Department and that investigators considered it a hate crime. The SPD did not respond to lassennews’ request for comment on this story.’

According to a statement from Susanville’s Rural Pride Network, “After a hate crime (reported by Lassen Family Services) hit Susanville less than a day into the June Pride Month celebration, the Rural Pride Network, Susanville’s only LGBTQ+ organization, is calling on local, regional and statewide organizations, businesses and residents to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

“You can show solidarity by joining our community potluck, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22 at Memorial Park in Susanville. We ask you to also share your pride brightly, both at home and in public during the month of June. There will be speakers, music and plenty of food for all.

“In a historic move, on May 18, 2022, the City of Susanville made its first ever June LGBTQ+ Pride Month declaration. Upon this declaration, community members made clear their joy for this momentous announcement, and their voices were clear: The city should do more to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community’s needs by raising the Progress Pride Flag for the month of June and answer the call for a citywide committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“Before the June 1, city council meeting, the RPN held a rally and vigil to highlight the grave crisis the community faces. We also shared important resources with city councilmembers and the public on the deadly outcomes of further dismissing our marginalized community.

“At the June 1, meeting, the Susanville City Council relayed a conflicting message of support by choosing to not raise the Pride flag for the month of June. However, at that exact moment, Lassen Family Services proudly displayed their solidarity with – and support for – the LGBTQ+ community and raised the Progress flag over their building on Riverside Drive.

“Within a single day of its raising, LFS reported the Pride flag stolen – along with its American and Californian flags. It was cut down and taken under the cover of darkness, in what is now labeled a hate crime committed by a still yet unknown man. This incident has spurred great fear and sadness in the hearts of our community.

So much so, it’s caused businesses and organizations to become apprehensive to share their pride with the community; fearing vandalism, harassment or worse. While this valid fear is expressed by mostly cisgender, heterosexual allies, it highlights the fear and danger LGBTQ+ residents experience each and every day in Lassen County.

“In light of this event, the RPN is calling all to show resilience and stand in solidarity together with our community during this time of unity and celebration. While the LGBTQ+ community lives on this “island” with a brave few allies, we at the Rural Pride Network, and the greater LGBTQ+ community in Lassen County ask that you do three things.

  • We ask that you (and your organization or business) join our community potluck at Memorial Park in Susanville on Wednesday, June 22.
  • We ask that you share your pride by dressing brightly this June.
  • We ask you also share this news to help us build support.”