Below is Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison’s statement. See next post for a compilation of news coverage.
Date: June 10, 2019
“Village President, board trustees, and residents of Barrington, I wish I could be here today to share this message, as this is an issue that strikes me to my core. As many of you are probably aware, in just a few short months, we have seen two events where members of the LGBTQ community have been targeted and harassed because of their sexual orientation, one of which was a high school student. Despite the strides we have made in this country, we know that these despicable acts of bullying are happening every day across our nation. The statistics show that LGBTQ youth are bullied at significantly higher rates than the average youth. This is unacceptable, and harassment and bullying of any kind is intolerable.
But this statement isn’t about what is happening in our country as a whole. It is about this community and what is happening in our backyards and, frankly, right in our front yards here in Barrington.
The first such event happened when a rainbow flag was stolen and replaced with an American flag on the pole outside the home of an LGBTQ family. The latest event, which occurred on May 31st, is even more heinous, hurtful, and deserves our action.
We now have the vandalization of a high school student’s home, with hundreds of forks placed on their lawn, a sign that read “Go expletive kill yourself”, and the number to the suicide hotline. I would like everyone to take a minute to place yourself in this young person’s shoes. How demeaning, demoralizing, and vulnerable would you feel if this happened to you?
As Cook County’s first openly LGBTQ Commissioner, I know this feeling quite well. While in high school myself, my home was vandalized on several occasions, I was bullied, and I was assaulted.
So much progress has been made in the past decade, but it is important to recognize our history and the reality that the LGBTQ community was penalized, considered a mental health disorder, and completely absent from mainstream conversation not too long ago.
My heart goes out to the family affected by this incident, and to all LGBTQ individuals and allies here in Barrington and the region. Please know that I stand by you. My office is ready and willing to help in any way that we can. As I said, I know all too well what if feels like to face this type of harassment and bullying; and I know what it would have meant to me to have my school, my government, and my community stand by my side. This is a horrible moment in our region’s history, but we must remember that we have the power to write the next chapter of this story. Let it be one of action and advocacy. Let it be one where all people live freely and are treated with the dignity and respect we all deserve. That is why it is my hope that officials here in Barrington will take the steps necessary to raise their voices and bring advocacy to this incredibly important issue. The time to act is now.
Please know that my office is here to help in any way that it can. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak on this issue.”