After the shooting at LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Cari and Lauri Ryding put up a pride flag on their Natick, Massachusetts home, a suburb ten miles west of Boston, where they’ve lived together for years.
When they came back from vacation they discovered that it had been stolen and their front porch had been pelted with eggs.
“It really sent us reeling,” Cari told The Boston Globe.
“It was our first experience in Natick of having any type of prejudice,” she added. “We hadn’t experienced it all, and it kind of broke open our little cocoon.”
The couple reported the incident to the police and asked their neighbors on Facebook if they knew what happened. While no one knew who was responsible, they decided a response was in order.
A neighbor suggested they get a bunch of flags from the Rainbow Peace Flag Project, a local organization that gives them out for free.
Before long the entire neighborhood was covered in the flags, hanging on fences, garages, doorways and decks.
“We said, ‘Why don’t we all have the flags? They can’t take them from all of us,'” said Dennis Gaughan, whose wife, Maura, helped organize the rainbow response.
“One person’s act of fear and maliciousness created such a powerful statement of love,” Lauri said. “We are very blessed, very fortunate.”
Cari said that the neighborhood had always been welcoming, embracing Lauri after Cari left her husband ten years ago and the pair got together.
“Somebody’s fear called them to action,” Lauri said. “But our neighbors support and love called them to action, and love conquers hate. Love wins. We win.”