(CBS4) – People in Colorado communities are standing strong and showing their pride, despite the recent disappearance of some displays. A Northglenn homeowner who was excited to celebrate Pride month displayed two signs handed out by the city — but says someone stole one out of her backyard.
It happened days after Pride flags were stolen in Louisville but in both communities, neighbors and leaders remain excited for local celebrations highlighting their LGBTQ diversity.READ MORE: Child Hospitalized For Dehydration After Long Delays On Southwest Airlines Flight
“I’m leaving for the morning and I look over and the one in the backyard is completely gone,” said Christina Cimino, a Northglenn resident. “You would have to physically hop my fence, go on my property, grab it, and take it.”
Cimino has lived across the country and feels much more accepted in Northglenn with her partner. But she worries about these isolated incidents of stolen symbols of pride.
“I’m a bit unsettled to be honest, in this neighborhood we don’t judge anyone,” she told CBS4 on Thursday. “We can’t walk around scared, we’ve come so far from the Stonewall riots that we need to be out and proud.”
The crime doesn’t take away from her excitement to see the town host its first-ever celebration for the month highlighting LGBTQ rights.
She said she is relieved that she wasn’t likely targeted, based on what police told her about other activity in the neighborhood at the time.
“I’ve never seen anything like this where we’re doing yard signs and showing pride,” Cimino said. “It’s a really good community for equality and inclusion of everybody.”
Louisville Mayor Ashley Stolzmann says her city has used this opportunity to spread even more pride in the short time since two separate thefts temporarily took away the flags decorating the busy intersection at McCaslin Boulevard and Cherry Street. Police were able to get back the flags stolen the first time, and a 74-year-old man was cited for theft.
A nonprofit, Out Boulder County, provided replacement flags the second time.
“This is the first year we’ve done the decorating of this intersection,” said Stolzmann, standing near the 500 flags once again on display at the intersection. “We wanted to make it more visible so this city council decided to put a flag display here at this intersection.”READ MORE: Lack Of Staffing & Supplies Keeping Splash Pads Running Dry
The overwhelming response from the city has been positive — people cheered and honked when they first installed the flags, the mayor said. Since the flags were replaced both times, more people have learned about the display and placed their own symbols of pride out for support.
“If you want to join in, please put a flag out. Put a flag out at your home. Put a flag out at your business and help join in the celebration,” Stolzmann told CBS4 on Thursday. “That’s why we have to keep lifting people up.”
Not only is this a reminder of why Pride month is necessary, but it is a chance to highlight the unique local events happening around town to make the event special for residents. The library has books selected to share the LGBTQ experience and there will be a motorcade on Sunday, where multiple cities in east Boulder County will come together.
“We can move past this, our generation can move past this, the next generation won’t have to deal with the same kind of hate,” she said. “We want to keep the small town effort going to show like how proud we are of our community, how proud we are of how far gay rights have come and we want to keep it going.”
Pride is also important to her when other communities and states are pushing anti-transgender legislation. She says the community and the country need to know that small towns like Louisville can also be accepting places for people of all backgrounds.
“There are places where we love you, it doesn’t matter who you love, you’re welcome here and we want you to be a part of our community,” Stolzmann said. “You don’t just want people to feel like you’re only welcome in Boulder, you’re only welcome in San Francisco, people are welcome across the whole country.”
A group of travelers passing through Louisville from another state saw the display and stopped to speak to a local shop owner, according to Stolzmann. The businesswoman told the mayor that the group was heading to Boulder but they were so touched by seeing all the Pride flags that they decided to stay in Louisville — eating and shopping in the town for the day.
“People are absolutely welcome in Louisville, and that is the Louisville spirit, it’s very inclusive, it’s very welcoming,” the mayor added. “It let’s people know when they’re just passing through like you’re welcome here, we would love for you to be here.”
Cimino decided to add sensors and more lights to her home after someone stole her sign. But it won’t occupy most of her focus during Pride, as she takes time to reflect on her own story and coming out more than 16 years ago. She hopes the stolen sign can act as a lesson to her community and everyone across Colorado to value mutual respect.MORE NEWS: Colorado Pediatrician Urges Parents To Keep Kids Current On Routine Vaccinations
“This should absolutely not be happening, it’s really unsettling,” she said of the sign stealing. The act of coming out has helped her to be her true self. “It was a celebration of who I was and it still is a celebration of who I am.”