COLUMBIA COUNTY (WJBF) – Alicia and Kathy Smith kicked off Pride Week by placing a LGBT pride flag outside their home. A few days after they put it up, they noticed it was gone.
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“Some of our neighbors have flags as well, but ours was the only one that happened to be taken,” Alicia Smith explains. “Some people might think, ‘It’s just a little garden flag. It’s not that big of a deal.’ Because it was a pride flag, I feel like it was a hate crime.”
The Smith’s checked their neighbors’ surveillance cameras. They could not see who took the flag so they did not report it to authorities. But, they posted the incident to the Nextdoor app and were flooded with messages of support.
“We received a lot of loving and caring feedback from all of the neighbors,” Kathy Smith says. “It’s made a huge impact on us because it wouldn’t have been that way a few years ago.”
The Smith’s have since bought a surveillance camera and bigger pride flag that flies above their home.
“The reason it’s so close to the house is so the cameras can see if anyone tries to hurt us or take our property again,” Kathy Smith says. “It’s a safety thing.”
They say the flag shows they are not afraid of who they are or what they believe in.
“You should be able to love who you love,” Kathy Smith says.