NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) – Thursday marks one year since Newburgh Town Council passed resolutions aimed at making the town more inclusive.
But, it’s been a tough battle for two local businesses supporting LGBTQ+ rights. They have been hit by vandals, twice, within the two weeks.
As we reported last week, businesses who had pride decorations on display had them ripped down. It’s happened again this week and was once again caught on camera.
“One year ago, the town of Newburgh had formed a resolution that forevermore proclaims June as Pride month and Newburgh, and that’s really important,” said Ken Oliver.
A second resolution, which denounces discrimination in Newburgh, was also passed by the town council. But after another round of vandalism, one town council member said she’s discouraged.
“It’s disappointing. But I think that it’s being handled, and it really just raises awareness for the issue in general,” said Allyson Shelby.
This week, security footage shows more Pride decorations being tampered with. Oliver’s art gallery was targeted.
“Over the month, they slowly disappeared. Vandals have taken them down and thrown them in the trash and threw them over in the river,” Oliver said.
This past incident marks the third time Oliver’s business has had this type of issue. He didn’t contact authorities but says he disagrees with them saying it wasn’t targeted.
“I think that, you know, like that they’re afraid to do anything about it, because it’s Pride. And, and I just, I think they’re uncomfortable with it. It isn’t that, you know, they came up and they stole or they they broke American flags, or they came in they broke flowers or something like that. Like they’re very targeted about what they’re vandalizing,” said Oliver.
Last week, two juveniles were caught on security cameras tearing pride decorations down. They’ve since been caught after tips were received from those who saw videos posted to social media. Their case has been forwarded to juvenile probation. “After speaking to all parties involved, determined that this was not a pre-determined plan to go out and actually target pride, it was two kids that, you know, made a poor decision,” said Major Jonathan Scully.
“It’s a teaching opportunity for parents to say, ‘Hey, we should love and respect one another. And not everyone is going to be like us, and we’re not gonna be like everybody, let’s embrace people who are different, and embrace our differences.'”
Major Jonathan Scully said that there is a coordinated effort to set up a meeting between the business owners and juveniles involved in last week’s incident to give them an opportunity to see how their actions affected others.