ROGERS PARK — In response to a spree of vandalism in Rogers Park including homophobic slurs, a bar in Rogers Park is passing out rainbow Pride flags.
R Public House, 1508 W. Jarvis Ave., ordered 100 Pride flags to pass out to neighbors. The bar began handing out flags on Monday. And while they still have some left, they are running low.
One condo with a rainbow flag in a window has had homophobic slurs spray painted on the side of the building twice in the last month. Other instances of political graffiti and homophobic slurs have been reported by multiple neighbors.
“We thought [the graffiti] was odd, because we are such a diverse neighborhood,” said Public House Manager Sandra Carter. “We thought, let’s everybody put up flags and support our neighbors.”
Carter said the response from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. The bar is engaged politically, showing the presidential debates at the bar, and they are unapologetically oppose President Donald Trump.
“We are very vocal in our anti-Trump and we don’t hide it,” Carter said.
The bar plans to serve impeachment-themed cocktails in response to the news that House leaders are pushing for an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
But running a politically active bar does not come without challenges. Carter said R Public House has received negative reviews online from those who disagree with their politics. Some reviews came from accounts as far away as Texas, leading Carter to believe the reviewers never patronized the bar.
But Carter said it is important to her and the rest of the staff to stand up for what they believe in.
“We are a minority-owned business, and it is very important to us that nobody in our neighborhood feel threatened in any way,” she said.
When asked how neighbors can best respond to hateful vandalism, Carter said she thinks the Rogers Park residents are already doing a great job.
“We are a very supportive neighborhood and we all come together pretty well.”
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