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Vandal removes pride flag from county building, police reports filed

<i>KITV via CNN Newsource</i><br/>On Maui
KITV via CNN Newsource
On Maui

By ‘A’ali’i Dukelow

Click here for updates on this story

    WAILUKU, Hawai’i (KITV) — After a vandal repeatedly removed a rainbow flag flying at the Maui County building, officials and LGBTQ+ advocates are pushing back against the move they deem hateful.

“It’s a common thing happening across the country today, people are making a choice to be divisive and creating a problem where there shouldn’t be,” Hemang Saraiya of non-profit group Aloha Maui Pride said.

The flag was raised last week, when Mayor Richard Bissen proclaimed June as “Aloha Pride Month,” in honor of the LGBTQ+ community.

But since then, a vandal allegedly took down the flag twice and left it lying in the building. The county filed a police report for each incident.

“Maui’s a wonderful community that accepts everyone, there’s going to be outliers in everything we do,” Aloha Maui Pride president James Doran added.

Doran and Saraiya say they will not let the reported crime spoil their pride month.

“There will always be people who want to pick on you, or call you names, or make it a point to call you different, but as long as you are able to step around that and still know who you are, that is more important,” Saraiya shared.

“Just understand that there are a people out there that are a part of this community and we’re here to help you and I wish I had more of that when I was younger.”

The county sent Island News the following statement:

“On June 5, 2024, Mayor Bissen signed a County of Maui proclamation recognizing “Aloha Pride Month,” as a time for people to come together, celebrate diversity, raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, advocate for equal rights, and promote acceptance and inclusion for all. Raising the flag throughout June is a testament to our unwavering commitment to equality and acceptance, and reflects our shared kuleana in supporting a community where all people are equally valued and respected for their individuality.

The County proclamation states, “Aloha Pride Month recognizes the rights of all people — regardless of age, gender identity, race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical challenges — to experience equality and freedom from discrimination.” Throughout its history, the County of Maui has raised flags for different causes serving as a visible expression of support, solidarity, and commitment to promoting positive social change and advancing the rights and well-being of all individuals in our community. In light of recent attempts to remove the County pride flag, we remain committed to supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and will continue to display the flag as a symbol of intolerance to discrimination.”

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