Crowd urges Buffalo Grove to raise Pride flag
One day after Buffalo Grove celebrated its Pride drive, a crowd of LGBTQ supporters showed up at village hall.
But they weren't there to celebrate. They gathered to protest the village's denial of Buffalo Grove resident and Pride Drive organizer Carolyn Pinta's request that the village hoist the Pride flag at village hall.
On Monday, about 40 people showed up outside and later went inside to speak at the village board's committee of the whole meeting.
Although several, including students from Stevenson High School, expressed their support for the flag, the board did not respond. Village President Beverly Sussman said the board could not respond to a matter that wasn't on the agenda.
Sussman expressed appreciation for the comments, saying "Buffalo Grove embraces and celebrates its diverse residents.
She added, though, that "the village's current practice for the flags flying on the flagpole has been reserved for the United States flag, the state of Illinois flag, and the Buffalo Grove flag."
Allison Frank, a lesbian Stevenson High School student said she noticed while driving Sunday that every lamppost and statue has a Pride flag in Chicago's Lakeview community,
She said Buffalo Grove's flying of the flag would provide a sense of reassurance to those who fear their civil rights will be curtailed.
At an earlier village board meeting, trustees passed a proclamation in support of Pride Month.
But the village would not raise the flag, based on a legal opinion that it might open the door to hate groups making a similar request.
Pinta, who initially made the request in January, said she was told that it would invite Nazis.
She said she was willing to take the proclamation at face value, adding, "I do believe that they are good people, and I do believe that they mean well, and I would have been satisfied for the one year."
But, she said, "I want to know how all these other villages are doing it and they're not."
"I would be willing to say that Northbrook even has a bigger Jewish population that (would be) worried about any Nazi intervention, and they didn't think anything about it," she said.
Lily Levitt, a 13-year-old student in Pinta's Spanish class at Twin Groves Middle School, was among those gathered outside village hall.
Of flying the flag, she said, "I think it's a pretty easy task to do, and I don't see why they wouldn't."
Also in the group was Avon Township Clerk Kristal Larson, the first elected transgender official in Lake County.
"There are federal proclamations, a statewide proclamation, the county has adopted it and flown the flag. Waukegan, Volo, Hawthorn Woods, Vernon Township, of which Buffalo Grove is part of, Avon Township, and numbers of other municipalities are all doing this. There are no legal barriers to doing this," Larson said.
Avon Township will be raising the flag June 18-22 in recognition of the Round Lake/Grayslake Pride Drive.
Wheeling resident Diane Ostrowski criticized Buffalo Grove for not showing more support for the LGBTQ community.
"It's like we're taking these little steps, when in fact there is the opportunity here to really embrace what Carolyn has put in place. And I don't understand why," Ostrowski said. "The flag is one additional piece of that. Why is that not OK?"