Featured photo: The Winston-Salem Progress Pride flag was discovered to be vandalized on Friday morning (courtesy photo)

UPDATED 1:12 p.m.: Added a statement from Assistant City Manager Patrice Toney and Mayor Allen Joines

On Friday morning, local law enforcement gathered around the tattered remains of the brightly colored Progress Pride flag that hung outside of Winston-Salem’s city hall off of N. Main Street. The flag was discovered on Friday morning.

Earlier this month, the city had displayed a large Progress Pride flag that read, “June is Pride Month” as was seen on the city’s official Facebook banner.

In a press release, Mayor Allen Joines called the vandalism “an apparent hate crime.”

“I want to state in the strongest terms that the City of Winston-Salem and the City Council fully support Pride Winston-Salem, their upcoming events, and Pride Month,” Joines said. “The city is acting swiftly to repair the banner in the interim and replace it with a new banner as soon as possible.”

Wanda Allen-Abraha, the city’s director of human relations/diversity, equity and inclusion, said that the replacement banner is scheduled to be installed on Monday.

“We want to assure the members of the LGBTQIA+ community that we empathize with and are sensitive to their concerns about such incidents,” Allen-Abraha said. “I have asked Police Chief William Penn to investigate this as a potential hate crime.”

In an interview, Assistant City Manager Patrice Toney expressed her feelings on the matter.

“It’s sad,” said Assistant City Manager Patrice Toney. “Minimum it’s a destruction of property, and to come on city property to destroy what the city has endorsed as Pride Month…. We will get it replaced. Meantime, we’re gonna patch it up, tape it up so that there’s no intent that the city is not going to continue to honor Pride Month.”

Toney confirmed with TCB that local police are investigating the incident.

Winston-Salem Pride flag outside of city hall (city of Winston-Salem Facebook page)

The vandalizing of the flag comes just a week after the city was embroiled in controversy after briefly changing their Facebook profile photo to a Pride flag only to remove it a few hours later. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies criticized the city’s decision, saying that city staff backed down to loud conservative voices.

In the ensuing days, the city put out statements explaining their decision and also apologizing for the “hurt” that they caused.

This is a breaking story that will be updated as needed.

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