New Hope for Suburban Bakery Set to Close Following Vandalism, Threats Over Planned Drag Brunch – NBC Chicago

There’s new hope for a far north suburban bakery that announced it would close at the end of the month. A direct result, the owner says, of “horrific attacks, endless harassment, and unrelenting negative misinformation.”

“Not only did we hit the $30,000 [goal], but we exceeded it,” said Corinna Sac, the owner of Uprising Bakery & Cafe.

“I’m very emotional about it, very grateful,” said Sac.

An online fundraiser is keeping the doors open temporarily, and will be used to pay back taxes and rent.

“We fell under hardship, and we were paying our employees and our vendors, and unfortunately, we didn’t have enough to then also pay our taxes and our rent for the last two months.”

Sac says the hardship started last summer, when she announced a planned drag brunch in July. The event was quickly met with backlash online.

The night before the planned event, the bakery’s windows were broken and walls were defaced with spray paint, forcing the cancellation of the performance.

“People protested here for 126 days consecutively,” said Sac.

Sac says she’s lost several important revenue streams as a result, including wholesale orders and her permanent spot at a farmer’s market over safety concerns.

“With our brands being in other people’s stores, that could affect them [negatively],” said Sak.

Hate crimes are on the rise nationwide, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Since November, in partnership with GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, ADL has recorded an uptick in incidents against the LGBTQ+ community.

“We’ve noticed an uptick in incidents of attacks, property damage, threats, harassment and other forms of violence being leveraged against the LGBTQ+ community,” said Sarah Moore, an analyst with ADL and GLAAD.

“These trends are increasingly becoming mainstream.”

Joseph Collins, 24, of Alsip, was arrested early July 23 in connection to the vandalism at Uprising Bakery. He was charged with felony hate crime and criminal damage to property.

“The horrific harassment has resulted in low patronage and low sales,” said Sac.

She planned to close on March 31, but is now reconsidering due to the unexpected influx of donations online.

Over the next week, Sak and her team will consider their options and plan to announce a final decision on March 31.

Busy weekends help, but are not enough to keep the doors open. Sak hopes to replace lost larger orders with new catering opportunities and more wholesale.

Sak says her customers keep her motivated, and despite the emotional hardships, and provide a feeling that she is valued in her hometown.

“I grew up here. I never, ever witnessed this kind of hatred or intolerance.”

“Drag queens, drag kings, performers, they’re people. It is a passion. It is a hobby. It is a job. It is no different than anyone else’s passion, job or hobby,” said Sak.

“It’s not right for someone else to step up and take their uncomfortably with someone else’s passion or job and forcefully say they cannot do it or take away that right to be who they are.”

“We lost a lot as a result of all of this, [but] if I can use my platform to make a change and make a difference, I will do that every single day. I will do it over and over and over with no regrets.”

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