In the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 26, two rocks were thrown through the front door of the Pride Center of Vermont’s community center on South Champlain Street in Burlington. From video footage in the neighborhood that we reviewed, it appears that at approximately 12:07am, one person walked up to the Center doorway, threw two rocks through the door, before running on foot towards Pine Street.
The Center’s physical space will be closed on Tuesday, April 26 and will reopen next week, once the safety of the space can be more thoroughly assessed. Property management has responded and has boarded the front door and will be replacing the glass pane in the coming weeks. The in-person support group that was scheduled for the evening of April 26 will be canceled. All virtual events will still occur, and the SafeSpace Anti-Violence support line will remain open as scheduled, unless otherwise noted.
Unfortunately, this targeted act of intimidation and vandalism is something the organization is familiar with. In the spring and summer of 2007, the Pride Center, then located on Elmwood Avenue in Burlington and named the RU12? Community Center, experienced several instances of vandalism, including a brick through a front window and graffiti displaying the words “Burn in Hell.” In February of 2019, the door that was just recently smashed was plastered with alt-right propaganda. Recently, we’ve experienced a rise in the amount of hateful letters and messages delivered to our mailbox, increasing in the level of harmful rhetoric and threats. This attack on our Center comes on the heels of an escalated climate of anti-trans violence including the murder of a beloved community member, Fern Feather.
We’re grateful for and strengthened by the solidarity of our neighborhood, who informed us right away of the incident, showed up to help sweep broken glass, dropped off flowers, and offered their support. We know from experience that strong and resilient communities support each other’s safety, and we will continue to cultivate safety and resist violence with our neighbors and communities deep into the future.
We invite the community to come together and join us in joy, celebration, and our resiliency on Saturday, May 7 for our annual TransPlants Sale & Block Party from 11am to 3pm at 255 South Champlain Street.