Community speaks out after Pride signs defaced, stolen from Norton town common

NORTON, Mass. (WLNE) — Police in Norton said a Pride sign was vandalized and four more were stolen over the weekend.

A resident who helps organize Pride events in Norton told ABC 6 News that this is the third time this month the signs have been stolen.

“We appreciate diversity and it’s unfortunate that somebody keeps removing the signs and we had a sign vandalized over the weekend, because that’s not the message this town is about,” said Renee Deley-Mahan.

Deley-Mahan said the Pride signs are a way to show the town is a safe space for those within the LGBTQ+ community.

“I like them, I feel like it’s comforting to know its such an accepting community and not filled with hate, like everybody loves each other no matter who they love,” said Wheaton College student, Maddy Possamai.

“It looks like it was intentional, they took the sign and painted inappropriate things on there and then they put it in the ground,” said Deley-Mahan.

Possamai said its disappointing someone would do that.

“It’s 2023, we’ve come such a long way, we’ve had so many hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, stemming back to the Pulse nightclub shooting, like its life and death for some people, people just have a lot of hate in their hearts for minority community,” said Possamai.

Deley-Mahan said there’s no room for hate in Norton, especially when she’s trying to spread inclusivity in honor of Pride month. She said she has a message for the culprit.

“Contact us, don’t do this under the cover of darkness, contact me, lets have a conversation, lets have a conversation about why this infuriates you that you have to steal sign or deface them, we’re here, its about awareness and understanding,” said Deley-Mahan.

Signs were also stolen in 2022 but Pride organizers said they’ll continue to persevere, and have signs on display at Norton Common by Wednesday.

In a statement, the Norton Select Board Chair said that “the town of Norton is a welcoming community and an exceptional place to live, learn, work, play, and raise a family, the actions of a few ignorant and misguided people who have chosen to vandalize or steal Pride signs around Norton does not change this.”

Categories: Massachusetts, News