Targeted in hate crime over drag show, suburban bakery can no longer hold events – NBC Chicago
A suburban northwest bakery that was targeted earlier this month in a hate crime after planning a family drag show has been ordered to stop holding public events because it is not intended for entertainment – a decision the store owner called a “conspiracy”.
Corrina Sac, of UpRising Bakery and Cafe, said in a Facebook video posted on Saturday that village officials sent a letter a day earlier threatening heavy fines and revocation of her business and liquor licenses if further events occur. were organized.
The ACLU of Illinois has vowed to defend Sac and warned that the village’s actions “create a victory for the hateful and anti-LGBTQ+ voices who attacked the owner and the bakery after the brunch drag coverage.”
Sac said the letter came after a “very threatening meeting” on Thursday, when she said she was first told about the zoning issue and concerns about public resources being used to protect her business. She insisted the bakery had been holding events since it opened last November and now relied on them to meet its financial obligations.
“I feel like it’s discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business,” she said. “Unfortunately, when the attention faded from all the hate this week, they shifted gears and started blaming me after we were attacked by a known domestic terrorist who committed hate crimes against us he barely a week ago.”
Joseph I. Collins, 24, of Alsip, was arrested in early July 23 after allegedly smashing windows and spray-painting “hate messages” on the bakery at 2104 W. Algonquin Road, police say. Lake in the Hills. He was charged with hate crimes and criminal damage to property and was later released on $1,000 bond.
The vandalism followed threats and harassment over the bakery’s planned “Starry Night Drag Brunch”, which was to take place the same evening.
In recent months, the Proud Boys and other far-right agitators have targeted similar pro-LGBTQ+ events across the country. Using language popular among adherents of the unsubstantiated QAnon conspiracy theory – which centers on an alleged cabal of satanic sex offenders operating a massive child sex trafficking ring – extremists claimed that drag shows suitable for children are a tool to “prepare” children.
Members of the Northern Illinois chapter of the Proud Boys promoted a brunch drag protest with Awake Illinois, another far-right group that has advocated against critical race theory and mask mandates in schools.
Collins was pictured in Proud Boys gear and standing alongside Edgar “Remy Del Toro” Delatorre, a prominent member of the neofascist group. Both men were present during the January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol, which led to federal charges against dozens of Proud Boys.
“We just need to understand what we are going to do”
Village officials did not immediately provide a copy of the letter sent to the bakery, but they issued a statement rebutting Sac’s claim that it was the subject of a “conspiracy”.
“This issue concerns a company that is conducting activities that it was never authorized to conduct,” officials said in a statement on Sunday. “While the potential revenue from these entertainment events may be attractive to the business owner, the Village seeks to comply with its zoning regulations.”
The zoning designation of the mall where UpRising is located “prohibits entertainment largely due to proximity to residential neighborhoods and shared tenant parking,” the statement said.
Officials said they requested last week’s meeting with Sac to discuss his business “offering continued paid entertainment events.” But they also shared complaints about lost business, parking issues, security issues and zoning violations. After Sac’s attorney did not confirm she would comply with zoning rules, officials said they sent the letter “requesting compliance.”
The drag brunch at the center of the controversy “received strong negative reviews” after it was announced and prompted a response from the village, officials said.
“The Village has focused on coordinating the resources necessary to ensure the safety of the company, its neighbors and the community, while preserving the constitutional rights of participants,” the statement said.
Rebecca Glenberg, senior attorney for the ACLU of Illinois, warned village attorneys that the crackdown on the bakery events “would be unconstitutional.” She said her organization is now “ready to respond appropriately”.
“We seek assurances from the Village that it will not take any coercive or other retaliatory action against Ms. Sac or UpRising, directly or indirectly, or otherwise interfere with speech protected by the Constitution to UpRising,” Glenberg wrote in a letter Saturday.