HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Pride flag flown outside of a Hamburg photography studio was ripped from its bracket this past weekend.
Deanna Kroll-Haeick, owner of DeaLea Photography, and her wife Katya Kroll-Haeick, noticed the flag was missing on Sunday morning.
“The entire bracket had been pulled off,” Katya said. “There were screws on the ground, and the flag itself had been taken off the pole.”
The flag had been up since June, which is Pride month.
Deanna said they have had no prior issues with flying it at her business, which is located on Union Street.
“We’ve gotten so many compliments,” she said. “This is a busy intersection- people that drive by say it lights up the corner.”
The flag was found Monday in a nearby park- and somebody had attempted to burn it, Katya said.
The Village of Hamburg Police department was unable to give a comment on Monday.
The Kroll-Haeicks said they reported the incident when it happened, and followed up when they located the flag.
“I think it’s important to be able to have an open dialogue when it comes to human rights- the most important thing is to educate yourself on issues,” Deanna said. “As small as someone taking a flag is to someone else, we found it to be incredibly hurtful.”
Katya posted about the stolen flag on her Facebook page on Sunday- and the post has racked up hundreds of comments and shares.
“I think our initial thought in taking to social media was that there are people in our community who don’t feel they have a voice when things like this happen,” Katya said. “We felt the need to just bring awareness to something unfortunate that happened in our community and draw support not only for ourselves but for the entire gay community in Hamburg.”
“This isn’t something that will be tolerated,” she added.
The incident happened on the the eve of Buffalo’s rescheduled Pride Week, which runs Monday through Aug. 23.
Rainbow flags have been placed up and down Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, marking where the Pride parade would be held on an ordinary year.
The Kroll-Haeicks have seen an outpouring of support from neighbors and community members since the flag was taken, Katya added.
“Somebody is coming to put on a new bracket, Nickel City Designs donated a huge Buffalo Pride flag,” Katya said.
They’ve also ordered 200 small Pride flags to place around the village this week.