Chicago-area bakery that canceled drag shows now threatened with fines

A bakery that faced harassment and vandalism is now being threatened with code violations after advertising a family-friendly drag show, according to a letter sent to the bakery’s owner from a far northwest suburb.

The letter was sent by the village on Friday to Corinna Sack, the owner of Uprising Bakery and Cafe in the Lakes in the Hills, in which the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois condemned the village’s actions.

“Our hands are tied and our backs being forced against the wall by our landlord and the lake village in the hills,” Sack said in a video posted on social media. Upcoming Events.

Upsetting Bakery, which often offers live music sessions, poetry slams and other community events, began receiving angry calls and social media reviews last month after it placed an ad for a kid-friendly drag brunch scheduled for July 23.

Sack previously told the Tribune that harassment intensified with people calling the workers pedophiles and even in one case leaving a bag of feces outside the store. She eventually canceled the event – ​​in which police expected a crowd of protesters and protestors – after the bakery was vandalized and abused the night before the show was set.

Lake in the Hills police arrested Joseph Collins, 24, of Alsip. He was charged with a Class 4 felony a hate crime and criminal damage to property. Kid-friendly drag events have been held in the Chicago area for years, pitched as a way to offer inclusive programming for kids, but events across the country have been targeted by the very right groups.

Sack initially praised Lake’s response to Hills Police, saying the department acted swiftly to investigate reports of harassment and vandalism, but the relationship apparently took a turn last week. In a July 29 letter, a lawyer representing the village wrote that officials are “concerned that there appears to be an entertainment program” advertised on the bakery’s Facebook page, along with other future events. It said that the condition of the village is that the strip mall which houses the bakery is not a zone for entertainment.

“Should the village become aware of any entertainment program that is being advertised at the Uprising Bakery and Cafe location, it will take appropriate enforcement action,” the letter said. Liquor License.

The letter sent to SAC that month was at least the second. A letter sent by a village official on 8 July reminded the bakery of their tax obligations, not to create a fire hazard and other local regulations, but said that the authorities were “not aware that drag Organizing the event will create a special problem”.

In statements sent to the Tribune, the village reiterated that it believed the events violated zoning ordinances and said it sought to address the zoning issues because the bakery’s business model is “regular and extended entertainment programs”. “Fundamentally changed” by offering. Sack has said that there have always been events in the bakery.

A village statement said that in a meeting with SAC before the letter was sent on July 29, the village told him that it had received complaints from nearby businesses and residents about safety concerns and loss of business.

“Standing with our community and businesses, the village has demonstrated unwavering support for Uprising Bakery and Cafe, staying with the business to fight against hate in every way possible,” the village said. “It is disappointing that our works are now being portrayed in a different light.

In a video posted to social media, Sack said he was forced to cancel a Disney karaoke program as well as a resume writing workshop.

“There was concern about how much resources we were taking from the village,” Sack said in the video, reiterating a meeting with officials last week. “I feel like this is discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business.”

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one in Letter The ACLU, sent to Lake in the Hills on Saturday, said the village’s actions were unconstitutional.

The letter from Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Glenberg states that the ACLU disputes whether the bakery incidents constitute a zoning violation, but said that even if this were true, the village’s “uproaring or enforcing the code against Ms. The sudden determination of the exercise of First Amendment rights on their grounds constitutes unconstitutional retaliation.”

Glenberg noted that Sack canceled two upcoming events out of an “abundance of caution”, but asked for assurances from the village that the bakery would be able to hold future events.

“The rural authorities were initially keen to support Ms. Sack and her business in the wake of this horrific incident,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, he has chosen to give the man who attacked and sabotaged the rebellion, exactly what he clearly wanted.”

Sack said in the video that he has held community events since the bakery opened, and was never told it was an issue. She said the programs are necessary to keep her business running.

“I’m incredibly sad and mad and upset and angry that they are taking this stand against us,” Sack said.

mabuckley@chicagotribune.com

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