Illinois Governor JB Pritzker visited UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills on Friday after the business was vandalized last month on the day it was to host a controversial children’s drag show.
Pritzker said he visited the company to “turn our anger into action and work together to find solutions.”
“We must come together to fight the rising tide of hate against our LGBTQ+ neighbors and friends, including the recent hate attacks at UpRising Bakery and Cafe. Hatred has no place here,” Pritzker said.
The company in a social media post on 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 company’s boarded-up windows during his visit.
UpRising had sustained extensive damage early in the morning of July 23.
Officers found smashed windows and spray-painted hate messages on the building.
Lake in the Hills officers, along with Algonquin Police Sgt., arrested 24-year-old Joseph I. Collins from the 11700 block of South Ridgeway Avenue in Alsip.
Collins was charged with hate crime, a class 4 felony and criminal damage to property, a class 4 felony.
UpRising was to hold a family drag show later that same day. The company canceled the brunch due to the incident, but it has since been rescheduled for Sunday.
Corinna Sac said her business started receiving threats in person and online early last month after it announced it was hosting the drag show children were invited to attend.
After the vandalism, Sac says he received a letter following a meeting with the Village of Lake in the Hills.
The letter ordered Sac’s company to stop hosting entertainment events, saying UpRising was not zoned for them.
The village said it would pursue “appropriate enforcement action” if the company continued to hold events.
The letter stated that violations of municipal code and zoning ordinances could be issued against Sac and its landlord. The village also said it could suspend or revoke business licenses.
“We have been hosting events pretty much since the day we opened. Live music, or paint and sip, cookie making lessons and cake decorating lessons,” Sac said.
“It is essential for UpRising to be able to host these events. It’s what fills the gap in our daily sales to make sure we can pay our rent, pay our taxes, and pay our employees,” Sac said.
Sac said she felt it was “discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business.”
In a lengthy statement, the Village of Lake in the Hills said: ‘This issue concerns a business that is conducting activities that it was never licensed to conduct. Although the potential revenue from these entertainment events may be attractive to the business owner, the village seeks to comply with its zoning regulations.
The village said in the statement that it has received complaints from the owner and tenants of Cedar Ridge Plaza, as well as neighboring residences, regarding loss of business, parking, safety issues and zoning violations, following company events.
“Ms. Sac said she now views the potential revenue from these entertainment events as critical to her business. She has made it clear that her intention is to continue providing entertainment on a more frequent and extended basis. Her recognition of this change in its business model has required the village to consider zoning issues, as operating an entertainment business is not a permitted use in this location,” the village statement read.
In a reversal, the village has since agreed to allow the company to move forward with event plans, including the rescheduled drag event, in accordance with current zoning laws, according to the ACLU. from Illinois.
“We are delighted to have reached a mutual agreement with the Village of Lake in the Hills,” Sac said.
“UpRising Bakery and Cafe opened its doors less than a year ago with the goal of providing a safe and welcoming ‘home’ for all beings, we thank the community, the ACLU, KRV Legal, municipalities and our families for helping us achieve this goal. We can’t wait to get back to baking and hosting community events!” Bag 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 commend the village leaders for their willingness to engage early in thoughtful discussions leading to this understanding that allows UpRising to continue to serve their mission of being a community resource for all,” Fee said.