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After Anti-LGBTQ Attacks, Suburban Bakery Threatened With Fines

Suburban Chicago’s UpRising Bakery and Cafe now has the support of the ACLU

A group of people cut a red ribbon in front of a building with a large sign that reads “UpRising Bakery and Cafe.”
A suburban bakery is at odds with officials over the sudden invocation of a zoning ordinance.
UpRising Bakery and Cafe

UpRising Bakery and Cafe now faces fines from local officials after weeks of enduring intimidation and vandalism over plans for a family friendly drag show. Lake in the Hills officials have sent a letter saying the bakery is barred from holding drag shows or other “entertainment events” at the bakery because the the building doesn’t have the proper zoning.

The letter is the latest unhappy twist for UpRising and its team as village officials ignored the ordinance until the bakery began making headlines with police called to investigate during the month of June with weeks of verbal and online harassment: vandals left a bag of feces outside its door and posted a sign outside the business smearing staff members as pedophiles. Village officials argued that these events require more resources, including police, than they can provide.

The letter marks a definite change in tune, owner Corrina Sac explained on a Saturday, July 30 video posted to Facebook. In her telling, community events like cookie-making classes and live music have been a staple at the bakery since its founding in 2021. She says the letter from the village, which has sparked a rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, is the first she’s heard of a zoning concern. Sac has not yet responded to requests for an interview. ABC Chicago, which first reported the story, says Sac could also lose the bakery’s liquor license.

“Our hands are being tied and our backs are being forced against the wall by our landlord and the village of Lake in the Hills,” Sac said in the video. “I’m incredibly saddened and mad and upset and angry that they are taking this stance against us after being here on Saturday morning and voicing their support for us... I feel like this is discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business.”

Village officials repeated their comments on the bakery’s zoning ordinances, telling the Tribune in a statement that the bakery has “fundamentally changed” the nature of its business by holding regular events. The village also claims that nearby businesses have complained about concerns surrounding safety and loss of business.

“Unfortunately, when the attention waned from all the hate this week, [the village] shifted gears and started victim blaming me after we were attacked by a known domestic terrorist who committed hate crimes against us just one week ago,” Sac said in the video. “And not until that happened and not until they saw the incredible support in lines around the building, did they suddenly have a problem with our community-driven events here at UpRising.”

The bakery, located 45 miles from Chicago, canceled the drag show, planned for Saturday, July 23 after the bakery was vandalized the day before. Lake of the Hills police would arrest Joseph I. Collins, 24, of Alsip, in connection with the vandalism, according to the Daily Herald. Police charged him with with a felony hate crime and criminal damage to property.

Since Collins’ arrest, independent media collective Chicago Free Media has collected and published images of him attending conservative rallies, including the January 6, 2021 gathering that preceded an attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, identified in part by a leather jacket bearing the phrase “Save the children. Kill all pedophiles.” The photos also show Collins posing and mingling with known members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group of adherents to former president Donald Trump.

The Sun-Times reported Collins was photographed wearing Proud Boys garb and that members of the hate group’s Northern Illinois chapter promoted a protest of the drag brunch. LGBTQ people and allies across the U.S. have identified a connection between the attacks on UpRising and the proliferation of baseless, inflammatory rhetoric from the far-right that links queer people to child abuse.