The Our Lives offices were the target of vandalism when a rock was thrown through the glass front door, leaving it shattered. The destruction was discovered early Friday morning, May 18, by maintenance staff at the building where the magazine rents space and reported immediately to Patrick Farabaugh, Publisher of Our Lives.
Emily Mills, Editor of the magazine, came in to pick up copies of the latest issue of the magazine only to discover the pile of glass by the door, and a baseball-sized rock on the floor inside the office. Nothing was apparently stolen from the space and no one was present at the time of the incident.
Maple Bluff Police took an initial report and are conducting a follow-up investigation into possible hate crime targeting. No security cameras are installed on the premises or on the street nearby, however, and so far no leads have emerged to point a finger at the perpetrator.
The attack was almost certainly targeted. The office is located in the basement of a building that houses several other businesses and the front door faces out to a hallway, not the street. Our Lives does not publish our address, but we do have a small sign outside at street level. The perpetrator had to locate the building, enter the basement level, walk to the end of a hallway, and throw the rock into the door. No other offices were damaged.
“They didn’t even enter the office. I think if it was a burglary, I wouldn’t feel like we were targeted,” says Farabaugh, who founded the Our Lives 12 years ago. ‘This seems very intentional.”
This isn’t the first time Our Lives has been the target of apparent anti-LGBTQ attacks, though it is so far the most violent and destructive incident. Last year, pro-Trump propaganda was left taped to the front door of the office. The sidewalk boxes containing free issues of the magazine placed around the downtown area are frequent targets of vandalism, including outright theft of the boxes, destruction of issues, garbage stuffed into boxes, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric scrawled onto the boxes and/or magazines.
Farabaugh and Mills both express enormous gratitude for the outpouring of support they’ve received since word went out about the vandalism.
“We can’t let one hateful act stop us from doing the work we do,” Mills notes. “Our Lives is about lifting up the diverse experiences, perspectives, and accomplishments of the LGBTQ community and I’m personally humbled to get to help with this at all. I know more people than not who support our community and are working to make things better for everyone. It’s heartbreaking, of course, when someone is so angry and lost that it drives them to go out of their way to do something so destructive, but it just makes me more determined than ever to do this work.”
Thankfully, the building landlord is covering the cost of replacing the door, which was fixed within days.