By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Mayor Don Denbow spoke at last night’s City Council meeting in regards to a hate crime that took place at the beginning of the month.

On June 1, the Garner family had a selection of flags and banners on display in their yard to celebrate “Pride Month,” an annual LGBTQ+ celebration commemorating the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969.

By June 2, unknown vandals had destroyed and burned ten of the flags while the family was out of town, culminating in burning a flag on the doorstep of the family.

While the suspects have yet to be apprehended, the Garner family have since replaced their yard display. The crime has since found larger media attention.

At the June 27 City Council meeting, Mayor Denbow delivered a statement before the public forum section of the meeting, noting this is the first time he has done this in five and a half years:

“During the last public forum, some citizens spoke about the social challenges of the LGBTQ+ community and associated bullying. The City of Corsicana practices inclusion and the recognition of diversity every day in the hiring practices and in the day to day management. There is a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for bullying and violence, or even the threat of violence. The City values and respects every citizen, and practices that continuously.

The circumstances surrounding the recent flag burning are troubling and the perpetrators should be held accountable. Citizens have the right to live in a welcoming and safe city. This is the Council’s number one priority.

I appreciate the speakers for taking the time to come and communicate with the Council. In the future we will continue to work toward cooperation and transparency in all City issues for the benefit of all citizens.”

Terry Garner, who was present with his family at the council meeting, thanked Mayor Denbow and the council for the declaration.

“My entire intent from this is to show Corsicana is a welcoming place for every person,” Garner said. “And that they are open and that they want people to be here.”

“We love where we have chosen to live and where we have chosen to raise our daughter. And we want other people to see the same value that we see.”

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