Last November I partnered with BTCB to host a Virtual Vigil: Barrington Is Kind: A Vigil for Barrington's LGBTQ Youth. The vigil was organized in response to a deeply hurtful and shocking event, which personally impacted my family. While driving home from Utah in October we were notified by a neighbor that our house and garage had been vandalized by spray paint and defaced with offensive graffiti and slurs. It was horrifying to think that someone in our community would do this. Out of this sadness, however, came great love as friends, neighbors and others in the community rallied around us to show their support. Neighbors lent us a tarp to cover the graffiti; friends decorated our yard with signs of love and acceptance; and many people reached out to us to express empathy and solidarity. The culmination of this support was found in the intimate and impactful virtual vigil, which included several community speakers, a guided discussion, some time for reflection, and an at-home candle lighting.
Following the event, an elementary teacher told me she was inspired to change her reading curriculum to incorporate the story of Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for her work in the Civil War; she shared with me that Mary also liked to wear pants. I know that this great love and support prevails in the Barrington community and this was just one example of that.
Vandalism statement from Next Door - October 2020
As many of you know, our home was vandalized sometime between 10:30 pm on Saturday 10-17 and 8am the next morning. It was personal. Our garage door and home were spray painted with homophobic slurs and threats. The brick was spray painted; the side door and side fence were all spray painted.
Added Note: There was nothing on our house or in our yard to provoke this. The rainbows and signs you may see in photos were added by friends after the vandalism occurred.
At first we covered up the hatred, but then, we thought: maybe people should see it. We did not intend to offend, other than what the message itself offends. I know this is a family friendly neighborhood, and we all want to protect our children from this kind of bigotry, but sometimes you have to stare evil in the face to recognize it.
Many people have asked, “What can we do? How can we support you? “
You already have. By stopping by and showing support, you have helped.
Your love and support is greater than the hate.
We are fortunate. We have the means to clean up the physical damage.
If you feel you must do something, then find someone less fortunate than yourself, and give them a hand up. Donate to a food pantry. Make an extra donation to your favorite charity.
We are looking for ways to bring the community together with love and kindness when the more urgent work of clean up is behind us.
Finally, to the person or persons that did this, I say: Hate is only going to drive everyone in your life away. Eventually, you are left with nothing. If you want help, reach out. I would be glad to have a conversation.
It’s never too late to change the direction your life is heading.
It only gets harder with time.