Pride Center vandalized in Gainesville; Democrats blame GOP hateful rhetoric
Vandals broke windows at the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida. Image via Facebook.

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Officials at the center called out a “cowardly act of hate and violence.

Gainesville law enforcement is seeking information on vandalization of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida. Officials at the center called out a “cowardly act of hate and violence.”

Local Democrats, meanwhile, are blaming Gov. Ron DeSantis for creating a hostile political climate.

“I see this like the Charlottesville situation, though obviously that was much larger,” said James Maggio, Alachua County Democratic Party chair. “(Donald) Trump didn’t tell people to go to Charlottesville but he opened room to express those kinds of thoughts. That is what DeSantis has done here.”

The Pride Center shared photos on its Facebook page of a shattered glass in a door and front window to the facility. Inside, a curtain rod is shown that was torn to the ground. In another photo, debris surrounds materials on the ground including a rainbow-colored booklet in the lobby.

“The Pride Community Center of North Central Florida has been vandalized, with a rock thrown through the front door and window, accompanied by a hateful note. Thankfully no one was hurt and no property was stolen,” reads the post on the Center’s page on Sept. 24.

The note attached to the rock was not shared online.

“Volunteers have already begun work to clean up the broken glass and cover the openings to protect the Center ahead of the expected rainstorm,” the post continues.

The Center is accepting donations. The local Democratic Party intends to write a check to the center to help it recoup losses, Maggio said.

Officials noted the vandalism at the Center came less than a month before the Gainesville Pride Festival, which returns to the city on Oct. 22 after being canceled because of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

“We are heartbroken this has happened in our community, but we are undeterred,” the Facebook post concluded. “The Pride Community Center of North Central Florida remains committed to being a safe place, and this display of hatred has only strengthened our resolve to continue to show up with love for our beautiful LGBTQ+ community.”

The Alachua Democrats, meanwhile, put out a more pointed statement pinning blame on the current political climate. Party leaders noted the county Democratic headquarters also recently endured vandalism. An individual broke windows with a brick the evening of Aug. 6, Gainesville police told WCJB at the time.

The college town in fact has seen a rash of extremist actions, according to Maggio.

He said there were also recently fliers promoting antisemitism delivered to numerous houses in the area, tossed on steps in plastic bags and filled with corn. The planned-out messaging, Maggio said, was in some ways more upsetting than the acts of vandalism. The fliers included homophobic messages and used rainbow imagery attributing a “gay agenda” among Jewish people.

Maggio sees more bigotry being cultivated as DeSantis and Republicans court the far right.

“It’s allowing a permissibility about targeting certain groups specifically anti-racist groups and anti-oppression groups, which the Stop WOKE bill does,” he said. “It allow those points of view to breathe more.”

The release from the party also cited a new law dubbed the “Don’t say Gay” bill by critics.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


23 comments

  • Charlie Crist

    September 25, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Extremist FP poster “Impeach Biden” did this. He should be locked up..made to pay thousands in fines.

    • Impeach Biden

      September 25, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      I think Gillum and Crist got freaky inside that building there. Let’s see the cameras.

      • Charlie Crist

        September 25, 2022 at 5:38 pm

        👆 Vote for me. I’ll send this racist, homophobic azzhole to Africa.

        • Impeach Biden

          September 25, 2022 at 7:52 pm

          Come clean Charlie. You and Andrew?

      • Fat Cammack

        September 25, 2022 at 6:57 pm

        Vote for me baby. I’ll spread em and give you raucous, bare assed, unwiped ass face sit. Show you what the GOP is really all about.🍩💋

        • Impeach Biden

          September 25, 2022 at 7:51 pm

          Did you guys see those Democrats In Philadelphia ransack that Wawa gas station? Such good people.😜

          • Charlie Crist

            September 25, 2022 at 7:57 pm

            Did they try to overturn a free and fair election at Wawas? Oppose democracy? I tell you the Wawa attack was more American.

          • Impeach Biden

            September 25, 2022 at 8:13 pm

            How about firebombing the Federal Courthouse in Portland, OR. Nightly. How many days and months did that go on? Did anyone of these so called terrorists bomb or set fire to the Federal Buildings on 6 Jan? Do you really believe they were going to overturn the US Government armed with cell phones and US flags?

          • Charlie Crist

            September 25, 2022 at 8:52 pm

            They had to evacuate Congress people over a peaceful tourist visit 🤡 Same old lies and repetitive whataboutism with you people..then turn right around and expect people to validate your points of view on justice protests? None of which were a threat to democratic process. Was J6 AkA 9-11 2.0 about justice for a far right madman billionaires bruised ego? I tell you that if you participated in this then you are a disgrace.

  • CPT Obvious

    September 25, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Of course blame Trump, DeSantis or Republicans. How about the people who did this?

    • Elliott Offen

      September 25, 2022 at 8:53 pm

      Totally agree..the January the 6th terrorists are responsible for their own actions.

    • Don’t Look Up

      September 25, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      It’s call a culture war dog whistle…..DeSantis knows how to use it.

  • Don’t Look Up

    September 25, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    This is a direct result of DeSantis’s culture wars!

    • Impeach Viden

      September 25, 2022 at 9:41 pm

      Such a tired and overused argument by you leftists. The Red Tsunami is coming

      • Joe Corsin

        September 25, 2022 at 10:30 pm

        It’s a tired and overused argument since the other day when this happened..up until you made that claim 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡 🤡

  • Zeke

    September 26, 2022 at 6:43 am

    I hate all republicans with a passion. They’re all fascists, traitors, and insurrectionists. They should all be locked up in prison forever.

    • Elliott Offen

      September 26, 2022 at 8:27 am

      They should be killed for the safety of the nation and humanity. They’ve de-evolved back into apes.. dangerous apes.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    September 26, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Once again the insanity of the far left is displayed in their mouth frothing rhetoric

    • Elliott Offen

      September 26, 2022 at 8:32 am

      It’s precisely because of you people’s insanity and threat to the nation that you must all be killed. Your destructive terrorist ideology and the far right mad men that you people vote for calls for it. Vote Blue and you’ll be safe.

      • Tom

        September 26, 2022 at 1:06 pm

        You are disgusting and demented.
        Amazingly, Florida Politics continues to allow you Elliot and your aliases to threaten mass violence and harm.
        Beyond any decency. You and your aliases are pathetic.

  • The Real Real Charlie

    September 26, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Good morning Florida,
    Speaking as the Real Real Charlie Crist I am feeling a little guilt in my heart for getting some of my leftist friends to trash the Pride Center making it look like Maga folks did it. However that being said you all still need to vote for me. Remember Charlie Good – Ron Bad. Thank you for your support and please send me some money.

  • K G B

    September 27, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    The Jews did it! RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA!!!

  • Ian Christ

    September 27, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Look at this report. Look at these comments.
    What happened to you slave staters.

Comments are closed.


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