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Summerville family who has Pride flags stolen creates “Pride Ride,” fundraiser for suicide prevention group

Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 8:40 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2021 at 11:49 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - After having an LGBTQ+ Pride flag stolen from the front of their Summerville home twice this month, a family turned the theft into an opportunity to bring community members together and raise money for a group providing crisis services to LGBTQ+ youth.

Roughly two dozen people took part in a “Pride Ride” on the streets of the community Saturday afternoon, driving through town with flags and streamers on their vehicles. They ended the ride at Luxe Espresso and Wine Bar, where they took part in a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, a nationwide group aimed at preventing youth LGBTQ+ suicides.

“It was going to be just a few people, and then it kind of just exploded and everybody in the community started donating items to us, wanting to come out, show their support,” Jenny Conard, one of the co-owners of Luxe, said.

Joseph Kiser, whose family had the flags stolen, said he wanted to show members of the LGBTQ+ community that people support them and love them for who they are.

“There’s people out there that support you. We don’t always look like it; I’m a truck driver by trade. You know, it’s all different shapes and sizes out here, you have allies,” he said. “Don’t be afraid; you’ve got to be who you are, if you can’t love yourself then you’re going to be miserable.”

Kiser said the event and its turnout show love trumps hate and that taking down a flag won’t stop their supporting the cause.

He also had a message for the person who stole the flags: “I hope that at some point this kid understands what love is and what hate is and hate can hurt a lot of people in ways you don’t even grasp.”

Deputies from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office volunteered their time to help direct traffic for the event and even gave some kids a ride in their squad cars.

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