SKOWHEGAN — Some in the Skowhegan community are showing their support after a business’ Pride flag was vandalized this past weekend.
Jessica Stetson, owner of Old Soul Collective in Downtown Skowhegan said a Progress Pride flag hanging outside her business was removed and stolen Friday night.
“I came into work Saturday morning to discover that the flag and the pole had been ripped from the side of the building,” said Stetson. “I did call an officer to file a report and he later found the pole at the back side of the building, but the flag was still missing.”
Stetson said later on that day, a pedestrian found the flag down the street from her shop.
She said she had the flag in front of her shop since early April.
“I was very glad to have it back but also disappointed because someone didn’t want to steal the flag for themselves. They wanted to vandalize it,” said Stetson.
Stetson said she believes the vandalism is an act of hate against the LGBTQ+ community.
With the help of the town manager of Skowhegan, Stetson said, Equality Maine donated 10 new Pride flags to local businesses in the community.
“I reached out to my daughter who happens to be an intern at Equality Maine to see if there’s anything we can do to get more flags in the community,” said Town Manager Christine Almand. “Just because you rip one down doesn’t mean you can’t put them back up. I would love to see them sparkle in the community.”
Almand said other businesses started hanging flags to show their love and solidarity.
Stetson said she now has two flags hanging outside her shop including the damaged one. She said she hopes to send a powerful message to whoever is responsible for the incident.
“The sign in the window says hashtag ‘Love Always Wins’ and I think this incident is a good representation of that,” said Stetson. “You can tear our flag down and say mean things but love is always going to win at the end.”