ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – An Ann Arbor bar that has been a popular gathering space for the LGBTQ community for more than two decades has been targeted by vandals.
Sometime after the Aut Bar closed at 2 a.m. Friday, vandals targeted the business — ripping down rainbow pride flags, smashing lights and tearing down streamers, which also damaged a neighboring building.
“We’ve been vandalized. I guess that’s ok in Trump’s America. Or at least people feel like they’ve been given permission to do stuff like this,” Keith Orr, the bar’s co-owner, wrote on Facebook. “Right now I feel violated. Our safe space has been attacked. I hope the community also feels violated, because this wasn’t an attack on (co-owner) Martin or me. This was an attack on our community.”
The monetary damage is only estimated in the hundreds, but Orr says the violation to the LGBTQ community is “huge.” As word about what happened to the bar spread, community members reached out to Orr to see how they could help. State Representative Yousef Rabhi even went as far to set up a GoFundMe page, which blew Orr away.
“This will be a way you can make a non-violent response to the vandalism. We’ll show them that their vandalism will only lead to support of our institutions,” said Orr. “Only the first couple hundred or so will actually be needed to take care of the damage. … Anything above the actual cost of repairs will be donated to the Jim Toy Community Center and Common Language Bookstore, two important institutions in our community.”
As of Saturday morning, more than $7,000 had been raised in less than 24 hours.
Police are investigating the case as a destruction of property crime. No arrests have been made.