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Pride Center using vandalism as chance to connect more with LGBTQ+ community

Vandalism on GR Pride Ctr pic 1.jpg
Vandalism on GR Pride Ctr pic 2.jpg
Posted at 6:07 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 19:05:12-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — When Stephanie Black drove to work at the Grand Rapids Pride Center on Monday morning she was shocked to find a message spray-painted on the front of their building.

It read: Queer Liberation Not Assimilation. And, it had a heart at the end of it.

She immediately took a picture of it and sent it to the center’s executive director before word got out.

“We totally agree with their sentiment. We’re not trying to hide behind anything. If anything we’re trying to engage more and build community partnerships so people know we exist,” Black said during an interview with FOX 17 on Wednesday. “So, we totally agree. We understand the sentiment. It’s unfortunate the way it had to go about happening on our building because now we have to pay to get it removed.”

Black said their cameras in the front weren’t working at the time. So, they don’t know who did it.

She said they haven’t told police and they aren’t considering it a hate crime. But, they want the LGBTQ+ community to know that they’re open to talking about it.

“We posted kind of like an official statement on our Facebook page basically saying we agree, we want to hear from you. There’s other ways to go about doing that,” Black said. “Actually part of our strategic plan this year is to hold community listening sessions.”

Those sessions are scheduled for this summer after all the Pride festivities in June. Black said they hope to use the time to hear from members of the community on this topic and how they can better serve them.

“We’re really looking forward to it now because we know that people have a lot to say,” Black said. “So, it’s been a priority of ours for a while.”