A suburban bakery northwest of Chicago was targeted with anti-LGBTQ harassment and vandalism after advertising a family-friendly drag brunch to take place on its premises. The village where it’s located threatened the business with fines and loss of its liquor license if it doesn’t stop hosting events at its location.
Corrina Sac of UpRising Baker & Cafe said in a Facebook video that she was sent a letter — one that she called “very threatening” — by town officials after a meeting the day before.
“I feel like this is discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business. Unfortunately, when the attention waned from all the hate this week, they shifted gears and started victim-blaming me after we were attacked by a known domestic terrorist who committed hate crimes against us just one week ago,” Sac said.
The domestic terrorist Sac is referring to is 24-year-old Joseph Collins of Alsip.
A member of the far-right White supremacist group The Proud Boys, Collins has been photographed wearing Proud Boy clothing and standing next to one of the group’s most prominent members – Edgar “Reme Del Toro” Delatorre.
Both men were at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Early on July 23rd, Collins was arrested for allegedly vandalizing UpRising Bakery – breaking out windows and spray painting “hateful messages,” according to Lake in the Hills police.
Collins was released on a $1000 bond, but his anti-LGBTQ actions warranted a felony hate crime charge in addition to criminal damage to property charges.
Village officials claim it wasn’t discrimination that prompted the cease and desist letter to Sac, but zoning.
“The issue is about a business conducting activities it was never permitted to conduct,” the officials said.
Sac and the ACLU disagree.
UpRising’s owner claims the bakery has been holding events since it opened in November 2021 and asserts this is the first time she’s heard of a zoning issue. Senior ACLU staff attorney, Rebecca Glenberg, warns the village’s actions are unconstitutional, writing in a letter:
“We request the Village’s assurances that it will not take enforcement actions or other retaliatory actions against Ms. Sac or UpRising, directly or indirectly, or otherwise interfere with constitutionally protected speech at UpRising.”
The civil rights group also claims the village’s actions “create a victory for hateful, anti-LGBTQ+ voice,” reports WMAQ-TV.
In the first half of 2022, we have seen neo-fascist groups disrupting Drag Queen Story Hours at libraries around the country; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently filing a complaint against a Miami bar over its popular drag brunch; an Iowa town’s only library permanently closed because of LGBTQ inclusion; and the arrest of members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front for planning to cause violence at an Idaho Pride event.
The threats to UpRising Baker and Cafe are another example of a disturbing and growing trend of using threats and intimidation to shut down LGBTQ-friendly establishments and put entertainers relying on the work out of business.
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