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San Lorenzo Library combats hateful incident with Pride initiative

San Lorenzo library combats hate with Pride
San Lorenzo library combats hate with Pride 02:21

SAN LORENZO -- A month after a group of men associated with a right-wing hate group disrupted a drag queen storytelling event, the San Lorenzo Library is responding with a show of community strength and support.

On Wednesday, the library in San Lorenzo kicked off a new initiative called "Every Month is Pride Month."

The move was in direct response to an incident on June 11 at the library. A group of men believed to be associated with the  right-wing hate group the Proud Boys verbally assaulted a drag queen with homophobic and transphobic slurs who was reading to little kids during a Pride month event.

Cellphone video of one of the men who purportedly disrupted a drag queen storytime at the San Lorenzo Public Library on June 11, 2022. CBS

"We wanted to do something in the community, in San Lorenzo, at the library itself, that can really speak to the type of inclusion. The type of celebration that we want for the LGBTQ+ community," said Alameda County Supervisor Dave Brown. "We won't be intimidated. We're not going to back down. We're going to stand up for the values that our community represents."

San Lorenzo Library Pride event series
San Lorenzo Library Pride event series. CBS

County Librarian Cindy Chadwick was truly saddened by the display of hate on June 11.

"It was a real shock. I think prior to that day, I wouldn't have known that there was that kind of hatred so close in the community," she said.

Local teenager Germani Latchison didn't realize it either.

"It was scary to know it was so close to home," Latchison said. "It's very scary, especially since a lot of my friends are a part of the community and they live in this community, too."

The new initiative won't erase the display of hate, but the hope is it will paint a picture of support and inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community.

"San Lorenzo and the San Lorenzo Library stand for diversity, inclusion, and celebration of all communities," Brown said.

"Every month is Pride month – it should be," Chadwick said. "We want that kind of inclusion and that kind of welcoming all of the time."

As a part of the campaign, the library will host monthly Pride events through next June to celebrate Alameda County's LGBTQ+ community.

"It's inclusivity in one of its greatest forms. It's saying not only can we celebrate you during your month, we can celebrate you every month because every month is your month. You have to live in every month," Latchison said. "That's a really wonderful thing to see that there are people who care."

A pride-themed mural is being painted on the front of the library, and there are displays up inside as well.

"Be kind to people," Latchison said. "It means so much. It means the world to everybody. Just be kind. It's so easy, honestly."

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is investigating the June 11 incident as a hate crime, according to Brown. More information on the event series is available at the library's website.

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