When Kimberly Filian heard that someone stole a rainbow flag from a gay couple in her neighborhood, she felt compelled to help out.
“I’m so sick of all this hate,” Filian told the Chicago Tribune. “I just feel inundated in the media and everywhere I look, all those terrible stories. It’s overwhelming sometimes. I felt like it was one thing I could do to show support — just something little.”
Filian decided to order dozens of rainbow flags, with the hope that her neighbors in Barrington, Illinois, would put them up in front of their homes as a show of solidarity, the Chicago Tribune reported. Now, the neighborhood, about 30 miles north of Chicago, is lined with pride flags.
For Casey Handal and Zadette Rosado, who had their LGBT-affirming flag stolen from their backyard, the outpouring of support has been a great relief — especially for their two young daughters, WGN9 reported.
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“For me, whenever there’s a bad situation, I always remember there’s a silver lining,” Rosado told WGN9. “And this was our silver lining.”
After noticing their rainbow flag had been taken down — and replaced with an American flag — the couple posted about the theft online, according to CBS Chicago.
Filian said she was “astounded” when she heard what happened “just around the corner from here,” according to WLS.
“It was just so disturbing to me,” she told the outlet, “and it made me angry.”
Other neighbors, like Robert Colvin — whose son is gay — also joined the effort to support the couple, who had moved into the neighborhood six months earlier, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He argued that allowing others to express themselves freely should be an American value.
“Just because somebody’s gay doesn’t mean they’re wrong, doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means they’re a little different and that’s just fine,” Colvin told the Chicago Tribune. “That’s America. That’s what it should be, anyway.”
Handal said the proliferation of rainbow flags in the neighborhood serves as a teachable moment for their children.
“We said look at what all the good people are doing, look at all the nice people in the world,” Handal told WGN9. “For every bad person, there’s 100 nice people, And it is a really good lesson for them, and for all the children in the neighborhood, to see that there’s good in this world and it always outweighs the bad.”
And next up for the family? Handal and Rosado are set to get married in late December, WGN9 reported.