Mayor Snyder and all members of the Portland City Council are denouncing a string of recent hate crimes in which residents in Portland and South Portland received dangerous and threatening hate letters in their mail on January 5 and January 7. The letters contained a satanic temple logo superimposed over a Pride flag followed by a deeply threatening homophobic slur. It appears the person(s) responsible may be targeting those who fly a Pride flag outside their home.
The Mayor and full Council join in solidarity with LGBTQ friends and neighbors, who fear they will be the recipient of the next act of hate. The Mayor and Council are suggesting residents and businesses consider flying a Pride flag at their door to show those who wish to target the LGBTQ community and their allies that the city will not back down in fear of hate.
“I stand with my fellow LGBTQ community and I condemn this act of hate as a City Councilor, as a gay man, as a resident, and as a human being,” said Councilor Andrew Zarro, District 4. “To those who respond ‘this doesn’t happen here,’ I ask you to challenge why you believe such a notion. This type of threat happens to our community daily, and we have been conditioned to expect it every time we leave our homes and enter the world. These malicious threats were delivered to the homes of Portland and South Portland residents, and we must reject this hate from our communities, and lead with compassion and empathy toward a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow.
“Hate and discrimination have no place in our community. Acts of cowardice, intent on causing fear and division, cannot be tolerated by any one of us,” said Mayor Kate Snyder.
“Hate has no place in our community and we must have zero tolerance for acts of hate like this,” said Councilor April Fournier, At-Large. “The best way to combat this is to bring it to light, engage the community to support each other and watch for further attempts at intimidation. We cannot sit silently when our community members are targeted like this.
“These acts were committed, as they so often are, by anonymous cowards and we should make clear they have no safe harbor in our city,” said Councilor Mark Dion, District 5.
“Hate and intolerance in our community, society is simply not acceptable,” said Councilor Tae Chong, District 3. “We cannot build, grow as a community if we give life to hate, division and fear. I am proud our Council and city has stated loudly that we will not tolerate this in our community. I am sorry this happened to our neighbors, in our community, to our community.”
Councilor Belinda Ray, District 1, said, "I would love to see Pride flags go up all over the city, stat. People who attempt to spread hate and sow fear need to know that when they target any one person or household in the Greater Portland area, they target our entire community. And people in our community who are faced with this discrimination and hostility on a daily basis need to know that they are not alone. The City of Portland stands with them."
“An act of hatred against any person in our city limits is an act of hate against all of us. We will not be intimidated by any such acts of hate and I stand with our LGBTQ community to ensure Portland continues to be a welcoming community,” said Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, District 2.