Honoring Lauri Carleton: A Family’s Tribute to a Legacy of Love and Acceptance

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    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: June 27, 2024 (3 weeks ago)

    Nearly a year has passed since the tragic and senseless death of Lauri Carleton, a beloved community member and staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Carleton, who was killed for flying a Pride flag outside her store, left behind a legacy of love, acceptance, and unwavering support for the marginalized. Today, her family is channeling their grief into a powerful tribute to ensure that her spirit and message live on.

    On August 23, 2023, Lauri Carleton was fatally shot outside her store, “Mag.Pi,” in Cedar Glen, California. The assailant, who took offense to the Pride flag displayed prominently outside her business, violently ended the life of a woman known for her kindness and inclusivity. The tragedy shook the small community and sparked outrage and sorrow across the nation.

    Ten months later, Carleton’s family is determined to transform their loss into a beacon of hope and resilience. They have embarked on several initiatives to honor Lauri’s legacy, keeping her memory alive and continuing her fight for equality and acceptance.

    “We were devastated by Lauri’s death, but we knew we had to do something positive to honor her,” said her husband, Jim Carleton. “Lauri believed in a world where everyone is accepted for who they are. We want to carry that message forward.”

    One of the family’s major efforts is the establishment of the Lauri Carleton Foundation, dedicated to promoting LGBTQ+ rights and supporting initiatives that foster inclusivity and acceptance. The foundation aims to provide scholarships for LGBTQ+ youth, fund educational programs, and support community projects that align with Lauri’s values.

    In addition to the foundation, the Carleton family has organized several community events to celebrate Lauri’s life and advocate for the causes she held dear. On the anniversary of her death, a memorial service and march were held in Cedar Glen, drawing hundreds of participants from the local area and beyond. The event featured speeches from LGBTQ+ activists, friends, and family members who shared stories of Lauri’s impact on their lives.

    “Lauri was a light in our community,” said longtime friend and fellow advocate, Maria Sanchez. “Her dedication to equality and justice inspired so many of us. This march is not just a tribute to her, but a call to action for all of us to continue her work.”

    The Carleton family has also partnered with local schools to implement programs that educate students about the importance of diversity, inclusion, and standing up against hate. They believe that fostering these values in young people is crucial to preventing future tragedies and building a more accepting society.

    “Lauri always said that change starts with education,” said her daughter, Emily Carleton. “By working with schools, we hope to create a generation that embraces love over hate, and acceptance over prejudice.”

    The family’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Their work has garnered support from various LGBTQ+ organizations and public figures who have praised their resilience and commitment to making a positive difference in the wake of such a profound loss.

    “Lauri Carleton’s story is heartbreaking, but her family’s response is incredibly inspiring,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD. “Their dedication to honoring Lauri’s legacy through advocacy and education is a powerful testament to the enduring impact one person can have.”

    As the Carleton family continues their mission, they hope that Lauri’s story will serve as a reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. Their efforts are a tribute to a woman whose life was defined by love, acceptance, and an unyielding commitment to equality.

    “Lauri’s legacy is one of compassion and courage,” said Jim Carleton. “We will continue to honor her by spreading the message that love always triumphs over hate. That is what she would have wanted.”

    Through their tireless work, the Carleton family ensures that Lauri’s spirit lives on, inspiring others to create a world where everyone is free to live and love without fear.

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