Arcata City Councilmembers this week denounced recent “acts of hate and violence” after someone cut down a tree adorned with rainbow flag ornaments and a “Love Joy Peace” banner, which had been placed in support and solidarity after the destruction of a LGBTQ+ flag displayed at the same community garden site. Both acts took place during Pride Month.
The decorations were placed during a June 25 protest over the flag burning at the corner of H and 18th streets in Arcata. The tree was cut down the next day, according to the city.
In response, the Arcata City Council issued a statement in support of the LGBTQ+ community, approved at a July 7 meeting, which notes that “we are grateful no physical harm came to any members of our community.”
“These acts should serve as a reminder to us that we still have a long way to go to ensuring the equity and safety of all of our LGBTQ+ community members,” the statement reads. “This is just the start of the conversation and one that needs to be had again and again.
"We invite our community to join in the conversation," the statement continues. "Together we must actively and tirelessly work for equity and justice for all."
Back in November, a brightly colored rainbow flag displayed at the United Congregational Christian Church in Eureka was slashed nearly in two.
The more recent incidents in Arcata came on the heels of Ferndale’s St. Mark's Lutheran Church posting a sign, which was later vandalized, according to media reports, during Pride Month that read, "Hurt by LGBTQ Culture? Healing Here.”
In response to the sign, dozens gathered outside the church the day after the protest in Arcata — many carrying signs and rainbow flags — before marching in a pride parade through the streets of Cream City.
Read the city of Arcata release and the full city council statement below:
Acts of vandalism to a city planter that was displaying flags and decorations to recognize and celebrate Pride Month have served as a reminder to the importance of remaining active in affirming the city’s commitment to support our LGBTQ+ community members and visitors. When events like this occur in our community it is important to consider the messages that the city conveys through both our words and our actions.
At the Arcata City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 7, the City Council approved the following statement, provided on behalf of Councilmember Emily Goldstein, in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
City of Arcata Statement in Support of the LGBTQ+ Community
During the last week of pride month two acts were committed against the LGBTQ+ community in Arcata.
At the corner of 18th and H St the perpetrators of these acts burned a pride flag flown in a small community garden. Later that week, the community gathered to mourn this act and show the strength of the LGBTQ+ community here in Arcata. As part of this gathering, community members hung small rainbow flag ornaments on a tree in the garden. The next day the tree had been cut down and removed, presumably by the same people that burned the flag. While we are grateful no physical harm came to any members of our community, these are acts of hate and violence.
We as a city stand with our LGBTQ+ siblings and unequivocally denounce these and any acts of violence and hatred.
These acts should serve as a reminder to us that we still have a long way to go to ensuring the equity and safety of all of our LGBTQ+ community members. This is just the start of the conversation and one that needs to be had again and again.
We invite our community to join in the conversation. Together we must actively and tirelessly work for equity and justice for all.
To learn more about how you can support the local LGBTQ+ community or if you are in search of support, please visit queerhumboldt.org.
The City of Arcata continues to make efforts to become a more welcoming community through intentful actions as set annually through equity arcata. Please visit equityarcata.com to learn more.