Tolland community remains full of Pride

Aug. 12—TOLLAND — Local residents are galvanized and moving towards continued support of the Pride community following recent acts of vandalism to a large sign that had been defaced and knocked down.

The sign, which now says "Love Conquers All" has since been fixed and a person arrested by state police in connection with the crime.

Resident and licensed school counselor Lisa Day-Lewis, along with Hanna Brinkhaus, a therapist from Mansfield, run a group for parents of LGBTQ+ youth that was started in December. They say they are expanding their efforts.

"We meet monthly to support each other and provide information to parents when they have kids who are questioning," said Day-Lewis.

She and other group members hope they can establish a formal PFLAG Chapter in town. PFLAG stands for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

The group will meet on Sunday, 5:30 p.m. at United Congregational Church of Tolland, 45 Tolland Green. One of the topics of discussion will be gathering support for the chapter. Lindsey Pasquale, the Northeast Regional Director for PFLAG, plans to attend.

"This Sunday, I hope to drum up support and interest for the PFLAG chapter, encourage people to show support with signs and flags, and talk about the importance of standing up to homophobic and transphobic actions, wherever they happen," Day-Lewis said.

Day-Lewis has also met with Rita Malenczyk of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force and Andrew Geary, Youth Librarian at Tolland Library, to discuss potential future events for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Wellness Bags are also being assembled alongside Maureen Flanagan, the Youth Programming Coordinator. These bags contain items such as Adventure Park Passes, gift cards, graphic novels or books, among other things. The bags will be handed out discreetly to those in the LGBTQ+ youth community.

Day-Lewis mentioned that Will Feliciano, a graffiti artist from New York, would also be helping to design new art for the Pride sign in town.

Residents have also created signs that can be displayed in private yards throughout town. The signs are modeled after the Love Conquers All sign, located off Exit 68 of I-84 in Tolland.

There is no cost to obtain a sign. To receive one, residents must fill out a Google form that's located on the Tolland Pride Community Facebook page.

"The purpose of these signs is to promote love and acceptance," the form reads.