June 20, 2002
Tucson, Arizona: All four of the long rainbow banners that usually hang outside on the front of Wingspan's building have recently disappeared due to vandalism.
One banner, along with the 2-foot metal pole it hangs from, was found on the sidewalk in front of the building last week. It was originally thought to have come down on it's own, but then on Monday, June 17, staff members noticed the other three were completely missing, along with their metal poles (except for one pole still sadly hanging from it's damaged bracket). The last three banners were seen still hanging on Sunday night, June 16, so it seems that they were removed sometime late Sunday night or very early Monday morning.
A police report has been filed, but if anyone noticed anything unusual in the area that Sunday night or early Monday morning, they are encouraged to contact Wingspan at 520-624-1779.
Contributions toward the replacement of the banners and poles would be greatly appreciated. Even if insurance does cover part of the loss (which at this point is looking doubtful), the deductible still needs to be covered, which means it will still cost a minimum of $500 to replace the banners and poles.
These banners are an important visual symbol of the pride and strength of our entire LGBT community, especially now, and we need to get them flying again as soon as possible. They also serve a very practical purpose. People, usually from out of town or new to the community, come into Wingspan all the time specifically because they spot the rainbow banners waving festively and proudly from a distance. They announce to the entire community not only the location of Tucson's own LGBT Community Center, but also that LGBT people have a welcome and respected place in this community.
Especially now, during Pride Week, the entire LGBT community needs to work together and stay visible.