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Community members raise thousands for pride organizations after having rainbow flags stolen

Posted at 10:06 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 00:06:45-04

HERRIMAN, Utah — After having their pride flags stolen overnight, residents in Herriman are turning their anger into donations, raising thousands for LGBTQ organizations across the state.

Down a quiet street in the heart of Herriman, Utah, you’ll find a neighborhood bursting with color and compassion.

“We all have something that we want to contribute to, something that we’re passionate about,” said resident, Carly Cowan.

For as long as Cowan has lived on the city block, symbols of acceptance have been sprinkled across neighboring yards and windows.

“Word kind of got out… that we were accepting of all religions, colors, sexual identities, whatever it may be, that we were just a community that people could be a part of and feel safe in,” Cowan said.

On any given week, passerby’s will see an array of signs and flags showing support for different causes. This week, the neighbors decorated their yards with large rainbow flags in support of Coming Out Week.

“We’re supporting a cause for humanity and equality,” said Cowan.

Cowan, alongside her neighbors, had rented the flags from Project Rainbow Utah, a local organization dedicated to raising LGBTQ awareness one flag at a time.

Every year the organization leases their flags out for a week on end. The organization receives a small donation and the donor gets a flag to fly proudly in their yard.

Project Rainbow then donates 80-percent of the proceeds to various pride organizations throughout the state.

“Love is love,” Cowan said.

But just one day after the flags arrived in the Herriman neighborhood, they were stolen.

“We were heartbroken, to be honest,” said Cowan. “We had a sense of violation that someone is taking our voice away.”

“This isn’t a political ploy for our street, this is humanizing each individual and all that we ask, is you listen and try to understand our views and accept that we’re all different and we’re all beautiful,” Cowan continued.

Feeling distraught, Cowan’s partner suggested they, “make this a positive,” and asked what they could do.

“I immediately went, ‘I know, not much about social media and I have no idea how to do a fundraiser… let’s do this!’” said Cowan.

She started a fundraising page soon after, hoping to raise enough money to replace their own flags. Instead, the pages raised hundreds of dollars in a matter of hours.

The next day the group of neighbors replaced their pride flags. Little did they know, Project Rainbow was replacing them as well.

“Now we all have two flags!” she laughed.

Upon purchasing, the group decided not to use the newly raised funds and paid for their replacements out-of-pocket.

Instead, they found a better cause to donate 100-percent of the funds to – the same one they were trying to support in the first place.

“It all directly goes to Project Rainbow Utah for next year,” Cowan smiled.

Now, Cowan believes they also found love in the face of adversity – giving other Utahns a chance to bring a little color to their street.

“We need to accept,” Cowan said. “Whether your religion is a differentiating factor, the color of your skin or your sexuality, we’re human at the core and seeing the community come together the way that it has is just so touching.”

Project Rainbow volunteers distribute more than 3-thousand flags to Utah homes every year. The organization said the money Cowan and her neighbor’s raised will be enough to cover the majority of their expenses for the 2021 year, allowing them to give even more back into the community.

A link to the fundraising page can be found HERE.