An act of vandalism against an LGBT couple brings a neighborhood together and teaches a powerful lesson to the next generation.
Last year, Casey Handel, Zadette Rosado, and their two daughters moved to the Fox Point neighborhood of Barrington, a prosperous Chicago suburb. They flew a rainbow flag behind their home in a display of LGBT pride.
Months passed as the young family settled in. Then, just a few weeks before Christmas, someone snuck into their yard and stole the flag.
“We were pretty devastated,” Handel told WGN9 News in Chicago.
Then Fox Point showed the Handels what it was made of: good neighbors who wanted them to know they were welcome.
One planted a pride flag in her lawn in solidarity. She ordered some more and gave them to her neighbors, who planted them in their lawns and stuck them on their mailboxes. From there, it spread. Now, there are rainbow flags everywhere in Fox Point.
“There was an outpouring of inclusiveness and support,” says Margaret Graff, who nominated the neighborhood, a place where people circle the wagons when challenges arise.
When a family who had lived in Fox Point for 50 years lost their home to foreclosure, a GoFundMe account was started by a neighbor, and raised $15,000 for the family. Neighbors gathered at the home to help the family pack their belongings, which had been tossed onto the front lawn, into storage sheds that the neighborhood purchased for the purpose.
“When you meet and get to know people, you want to do things for them,” says community board president Mike Moran. “We like to do things for one another, just because. We will shovel other people’s driveways if they haven’t gotten to it yet in the winter after we have done our own.”
Handel and Rosado feel that they chose the right place to raise their kids.
“We said, ‘Look at what all the good people are doing, look at all the nice people in the world,” Handel told WGN9. “For every bad person there’s 100 nice people, and it is really a good lesson for them … to see that there’s good in this world and it always outweighs the bad.”
Fox Point is comprised of 425 homes, located in the NW Suburbs of Chicago. Here kids walk to the neighborhood pool, fish in the lake; neighbors enjoy the annual Card Party, Progressive Dinner. And neighbors get to know each other—and truly care
In the last year there have been two significant examples of this:
1. First, there was a family in need that was losing their house. Neighbors rallied and raised $15k and literally helped them get their personal items before they had to leave.
2. Second, there was an outpouring of inclusiveness and support for a new LGBT couple whose rainbow flag was taken from the property—neighbors rallied behind them in support, bringing meals and flying mini-rainbow flags from mailboxes throughout the neighborhood.