On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots credited with inspiring the modern LGBTQ rights movement, the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas was the target of an apparent arson attempt.
Jason Dinant, a reporter for local ABC affiliate KTNV, reports employees showed up to work this morning to find someone someone had started a fire outside the building.
Surveillance cameras captured video of a man trying to rip down a Stonewall banner. Failing in that attempt, the video shows him setting fire to a palm tree near the building.
KTNV reports a propane tank was found near the tree.
A post on The Center’s Facebook page said there was no damage done to the building.
“As we enter the final week of Pride Month, the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and major celebrations take place this weekend in New York, San Francisco, and around the world, this attempted arson and hate crime against our community reinforce the need for LGBTQ+ Pride events,” read the statement. “Our equality, rights, and our lives remain at risk.”
The post went on to say “this vengeful act reminds us to be alert, be safe, and if you see something, say something.”
“To everyone around the world attending Pride events this weekend, let this be a reminder of why you are celebrating and why our fight for equality continues,” concluded the post.
The Center’s executive director, John Waldron, told KTNV that the organization had received “an alarming voicemail this week from a person upset about rainbow flags flying with American flags.”
Las Vegas police, arson investigators and the FBI are investigating the arson attempt.