Members of the Proud Boys disrupted yet another Pride-themed children’s program at a public library earlier this week. On Monday, seven men wearing the violent far-right group’s signature black and yellow polo shirts and other Proud Boys paraphernalia entered the St. Joseph County Public Library’s Virginia M. Tutt Branch in South Bend, IN where the Rainbow Family Storytime and arts and crafts event was scheduled to take place.
Photos posted on social media also show the men flashing white supremacist hand signs while smiling for the camera.
Members of the extremist group, whose leaders were indicted earlier this month on charges of seditious conspiracy for their alleged roles in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, entered the library before the event was scheduled to begin. Local police were called, but the disruption forced the library to cancel the event.
“This definitely came as a shock,” library system communications manager Marissa Gebhard told WVPE News. “We were not anticipating any problems.”
She added that the library plans to reschedule the event in the coming months and is determining whether additional security measures are necessary going forward.
“The bottom line is that the library will continue to offer inclusive programming,” Gebhard said. “A library is a place of belonging, and it’s a place for everyone.”
This is the fourth reported incident this month of Proud Boys members disrupting children’s events at libraries. Over the weekend, pro-LGBTQ counter-protesters created a human shield to block a group protesting an event at a library in Texas, while in Nevada a Proud Boys member reportedly armed with a gun disrupted a Drag Queen Story Hour event. Earlier this month, members of the hate group, which has been designated a terrorist organization in Canada and New Zealand, stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Library in California and another Pride Story Time event in Wilmington, North Carolina, reportedly with the support of local police.
Far-right groups like the Proud Boys have been targeting family-friendly Pride events all month, instigated in part by anti-LGBTQ social media disinformation, right-wing media, and rhetoric from Republican lawmakers accusing the LGBTQ community and its allies of “grooming” children for abuse.