These neighbors hung up 40 rainbow flags when a gay couple's house was vandalized.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead

After a restful vacation, Cari and Lauri Ryding returned to a disturbing sight at their home in South Natick, Massachusetts — their porch had been egged, and their rainbow pride flag was gone.

"We were both disillusioned and confused.  We didn't want to believe that it was an attack on us," Cari wrote in an email.

The couple had gotten their pride flag several weeks earlier from Rainbow Peace Flag Project — an organization that distributes rainbow flags with the word "PEACE" on them to the Natick and MetroWest areas for free in the name of peace.


Cari and Lauri's front door today. Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

The flag was meant to be a symbol of love and solidarity in the wake of the tragic Pulse shooting in Orlando in June but had inspired an act of vandalism — presumably from someone with homophobic views.

Cari has lived on the same street in South Natick for 23 years. Even when she separated from her husband and later married Lauri, she always felt she had unwavering support from her neighbors, which made the incident all the more difficult to comprehend.

Their neighbors, however, refused to let that act of vandalism be the end of the story.

They decided to show Cari and Lauri that they would always stand behind them. Their neighbors immediately contacted the Rainbow Peace Flag organization and ordered numerous flags.

One by one, the rainbow flags began popping up all over the neighborhood — until 40 houses were showcasing them proudly.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

"We were not surprised that the neighbors responded, but we were surprised by how many did. People that we didn't know well got into action," wrote Cari.

According to Cari, local kids delivered the flags to all their neighbors on their bikes, stopping by Cari and Lauri's last. The couple gave them a tearful "thank you."

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

This colorful act of solidarity proves hate is no match for love in small communities like this. It's also a shining example of what the rainbow flag is meant to do.

"Displaying pride out in the open can be risky.  It can lead to heartbreaking rejection. The Rainbow Peace Flag Project is a way to invite and empower neighbors to become allies," Ian Mevorach, co-founder of the Rainbow Peace Flag Project, wrote in an email.

Any fear Cari and Lauri might've felt as a result of this hateful act of vandalism was quelled by the ever-growing support they've received.

Several religious organizations are standing behind them, and more and more people in the Natick area and beyond are ordering rainbow flags to show they're part of the unified front. The response has filled the couple with an overwhelming hope for a better future for the LGBTQ community.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

And to think it all started when a few small-town people refused to let their neighbors be knocked down.

As Cari put it succinctly, "The actions of a few people can change things, and inspire the world."

More

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At Trump's 'Social Media Summit' on Thursday, he bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died' and he had witnessed said death. Wait, what?!


He didn't mean it literally - thank God. You can't be too sure! After all, he seemed to think that Frederick Douglass was still alive in February. More recently, he described a world in which the 1770s included airports. His laissez-faire approach to chronology is confusing, to say the least.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Words matter. And they especially matter when we are talking about the safety and well-being of children.

While the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual assault allegations that have long been swept under the rug, it has also brought to the forefront the language we use when discussing such cases. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of using varied wording, but it's vital we try to remain as accurate as possible in how we describe things.

There can be gray area in some topics, but some phrases being published by the media regarding sexual predation are not gray and need to be nixed completely—not only because they dilute the severity of the crime, but because they are simply inaccurate by definition.

One such phrase is "non-consensual sex with a minor." First of all, non-consensual sex is "rape" no matter who is involved. Second of all, most minors legally cannot consent to sex (the age of consent in the U.S. ranges by state from 16 to 18), so sex with a minor is almost always non-consensual by definition. Call it what it is—child rape or statutory rape, depending on circumstances—not "non-consensual sex."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture