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Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Shanzeh Ahmad

Illinois bakery in crosshairs over drag show event will likely be forced to close

CHICAGO — UpRising Bakery and Cafe announced that “horrific attacks” on the establishment dating back to last summer, including threats and vandalism that led up to a planned drag show in July, have forced the Lake in the Hills bakery to close its doors as soon as the end of March.

Corinna Sac, owner of the bakery, said in a statement the attacks on her business resulted in “low patronage and low sales,” and therefore the bakery is likely to close.

“Without an infusion of more than $30,000 at this time, I cannot keep the doors open to my dream bakery,” Sac said in the statement. “I wish to thank every single one of you who have defended us, protected us and supported us.”

She said her last ask of the community is for people to take part in a “tip the bill” campaign, funds of which will be collected and split among the staff with the goal of giving each of them the equivalent of one extra paycheck.

There have also been a number of events and fundraisers at UpRising this month, such as “Rise Up for UpRising,” where people could pledge to spend $20 per month at the bakery and get an UpRising Bakery and Cafe mug, and a show by the Donnybrooks, a Chicago Irish folk rock band.

Sac said she opened UpRising with a dream in mind of owning a bakery that would “make a difference by serving delicious food for everyone — especially those in need of gluten-free and vegan options and those in the LGBTQ+ community seeking wedding cakes,” according to the statement.

The dream has “since become a nightmare no businessperson could have anticipated,” the statement said, leading to the announcement of the impending closure.

“Closing our doors is the direct result of the horrific attacks, endless harassment and unrelenting negative misinformation about our establishment in the last eight months,” Sac said in the statement. “From an award-winning bakery that donates to local organizations and supports diversity and inclusion, we have been rebranded by misinformation as ‘gay only’ and ‘pedophiles.’” Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their license plates being photographed, and they are harassed.”

In late July, UpRising Bakery and Cafe was vandalized ahead of a highly anticipated drag show event. The “Starry Night Brunch Drag” at the bakery was sold out and advertised as a family-friendly evening filled with food and entertainment.

Joseph Collins, 24, of Alsip, was arrested and charged with a class 4 felony hate crime and criminal damage to property, according to police. Windows were found broken at the bakery and hateful messages were spray painted on the building.

The bakery was able to reschedule the drag show after having to cancel the event twice due to the harassment and then a separate zoning issue. The show and event in August went smoothly, with Illinois State Police and Lake in the Hills police patrolling the parking lot before and during the show.

UpRising opened in 2021 with the initial plan of being a stand-alone bakery, but Sac decided to start and manage a cafe alongside it. Sac, who said she identifies as bisexual, said she understood the “importance of creating options and visibility for the underserved.”

“Seeing gluten-free and vegan products sold with 350% markup saddened me,” she said. “My heart broke reading emails from same-sex couples seeking a bakery for their wedding cake. People in this community need us.”


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