NEVADA CITY, Calif. — Nevada City's Pride Dance Party was canceled after safety concerns, according to City Councilmember Daniela Fernández.
Fernández wrote in an Instagram post that she doesn't take this decision lightly.
"I have received hate mail regarding the Pride Flags in town, many of you have reached out to express concern about the flags being vandalized and removed, and to share images of heinous skin-crawling homophobic signs showing up in town," Fernández wrote.
She cited "the rise of bigoted extremist militant groups attacking Pride events across the nation," adding that the community is "in a heightened state of vulnerability here in our conflicted rural community."
The event was supposed to happen this past Saturday - in the midst of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, and news of its cancelation came out on Friday.
It was sad for Alana Flores, of Nevada City, to hear.
“As a queer woman of color, who is raising children here in Nevada County, I was really sad and disappointed that it wasn't able to happen this year, but I have faith in us as a community," Flores told ABC10.
On Thursday afternoon, Flores was preparing food at Heartwood Eatery, where she works in Nevada City.
The restaurant's operations manager, Tony Perez Carpenter, said he was also saddened by the Pride event's cancelation.
"It was a total heartbreak,” said Perez Carpenter, who identifies as a straight ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.
He said he wants Nevada City to be a place that welcomes everybody.
"We're looking for ways to sort of heal those separations that we're feeling all around us, and the strongest way that we can do that is just to come together and show appreciation for each other, to listen to each other," he said. "Having events that in our community that celebrate diversity opens up those conversations, you know, and people that are standing against those are just increasing those divides in our community, and we're tired of it. Done with it."
Alycia Floyd, who works at Heartwood, agrees that she wants the city and their restaurant to be an inviting place.
"We definitely try to encompass and welcome everyone in every facet, every leg of life,” she said.
But despite the cancellation of the Pride event, Nevada City is still showing its support for the LGBTQIA+ community — most visually, with rainbow flags throughout the city, approved by city council and put up by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.
“There was some vandalism," said Judy, who volunteers at the Chamber of Commerce.
She asked ABC10 not to use her last name because of the tension right now in the community, but she said the Chamber has received dozens of calls about the flags this month— the majority of them, positive.
“Mostly mothers that are so grateful that their child can be accepted or feel fit in," Judy said. "In fact, we had one mother come in with tears in her eyes thanking us.”
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Flores said she agrees.
“This is the first year that all of the pride flags have been put in downtown, and it just brings chills to my body and joy because I feel representation for the first time in the last 10 years of being here, paying taxes, being a homeowner, a business owner," she said.
The local community is still holding smaller Pride events throughout the month, Flores said, adding that she’s looking forward to next year’s Pride— as organizers are planning one with extra security.
“Hate is not welcome here. We're here for celebration of love and connection," she said.
On Thursday evening, the LGBTQIA+ community in Nevada City held a picnic for Queer families and straight allies.
Meanwhile, the Nevada City Police Department and Nevada County Sheriff's Office both say they have not received any official reports of recent threats or vandalism against the local LGBTQIA+ community.