Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker visited UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills Friday after the business was vandalized last month on the day it was set to host a controversial child-friendly drag show.
Pritzker said he visited the business to “turn our anger into action and work together to find solutions.”
“We must come together to combat the rising tide of hate against our LGBTQ+ neighbors and friends, including the recent hateful attacks at UpRising Bakery and Cafe. Hate has no home here,” Pritzker said.
The business in a social media post Friday afternoon thanked the governor and said it was “the honor of a lifetime” to shake his hand.
Pritzker left a message and signed his name on one of the boarded-up windows of the business during his visit.
UpRising had sustained significant damage early in the morning on July 23.
Officers found broken windows and hateful messages spray painted on the building.
Lake in the Hills officers, along with the Algonquin police sergeant, took Joseph I. Collins, 24, of the 11700 block of South Ridgeway Avenue in Alsip, into custody.
Collins was charged with hate crime, a Class 4 felony, and criminal damage to property, a Class 4 felony.
UpRising was scheduled to host a family-friendly drag show later that same day. The business canceled the brunch event due to the incident but it has since been rescheduled for Sunday.
Corinna Sac said that her business began receiving in-person and online threats early last month after they announced they were hosting the drag show where children were welcome to attend.
After the vandalism, Sac said she received a letter following a meeting with the Village of Lake in the Hills.
The letter ordered Sac’s business to stop hosting entertainment events, saying that UpRising was not zoned for them.
The village said they would pursue “appropriate enforcement actions” if the business continued hosting events.
The letter said that municipal code and zoning ordinance violations could be issued against Sac and her landlord. The village also said they could suspend or revoke business licenses.
“We’ve been holding events pretty much since the day we’ve opened. Live music, or paint and sips, cookie making classes and cake decorating classes,” Sac said.
“It is essential for UpRising to be able to host these events. It is what bridges the gap in our daily sales to ensure we can pay our rent, pay our taxes, and pay our employees,” Sac said.
Sac said she felt like this was “discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business.”
In a lengthy statement, the Village of Lake in the Hills said, “This issue is about a business conducting activities it was never permitted to conduct. While the potential revenue from these entertainment events may be attractive to the business owner, the Village is seeking compliance with its zoning regulations.”
The village said in the statement that they received complaints from the property owner and tenants of Cedar Ridge Plaza, as well as nearby residences, regarding loss of business, parking, safety concerns and zoning violations, as a result of the business’ events.
“Ms. Sac stated she now sees the potential revenue from these entertainment events as being essential to her business. She was clear that her intent was to continue offering entertainment on a more frequent and extended basis. Her acknowledgement of this change to her business model, has required the Village to consider the zoning concerns, as the operation of an entertainment business is not a permitted use at that location,” the village’s statement said.
In a reversal, the village has since agreed to allow the business to move forward with plans for events, including the rescheduled drag event, in accord with current zoning laws, according to the ACLU of Illinois.
“We are elated to have come to a mutual agreement with the Village of Lake in the Hills,” Sac said.
“UpRising Bakery and Cafe opened less than a year ago with the goal of providing a safe and welcoming ‘home away from home’ for all beings, we thank the community, ACLU, KRV legal, municipalities, and our families for helping us reach this goal. We look forward to getting back to baking and holding community centered events!” Sac added.
Kevin Fee, Senior Special Litigation Counsel at the ACLU of Illinois, said Thursday’s agreement is “good news” for the community and a “victory for free speech.”
“We applaud Village officials for their willingness to quickly engage in thoughtful discussions leading to this understanding that allows UpRising to continue to serve their mission of being a community resource for all people,” Fee said.