Valdosta residents stand up after recent vandalism
September 18, 2019
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta community is taking a stand against hate.
Earlier this month, Valdosta residents Brian Meeks and Clay Bass found their pride flag torn down, its pole broken and the flag burned on their front porch.
The two said this is the fifth time their home has been the target of an act of hate and vandalized. They say while these incidents continue to happen, this act crossed the line, putting their safety and their home at risk.
"This is definitely the most malicious, and we decided that we're no longer going to just let it go, we're going to be visible," Meeks said. "We're going to make a statement saying we're proud of who we are, we're here, we're not going anywhere."
As a response, the couple has put up hundreds of flags all across the yard, saying hundreds more are still to come.
"We're not backing down. We just want to be a part of [the Valdosta community] but still be ourselves, and that was just blatant ignorance," Bass said. "We're not going to stand for that."
The two said that while there is still an ongoing issue of hate in Valdosta, there has been an outpouring of support from neighbors since the flags have gone up.
Meeks and Bass said they hope that this message spreads all across the community and inspire others to stand up against hate. Meeks said, he also hopes it shows other LGBTQ community members that, while they may not hang their own flag, there are people in this community that will stand with them.
This Saturday is the tenth anniversary of South Georgia Pride Festival happening at John W. Saunders Memorial Park. There is expected to be several organizations and local resources available during the event.