WBBM Newsradio is reporting that a patron of Lighthouse Beach hung his towel, which portrayed the stars and bars of the Confederacy, on the snow fence there earlier this week. LaShandra Smith-Rayfield reportedly left work to see for herself, posting a video of the towel on the fence and offering to buy the towel from its owner for $20 so she could dispose of it. He apparently refused, but, at the request of a beach supervisor, he removed the towel from the fence.

Mayor Stephen Hagerty posted the following statement on Facebook:

“Today a hurtful and offensive symbol was displayed at one of our beaches on a city fence. Several residents called 311 and one resident notified me via email. Surprised that such a symbol would be displayed on our city fence, I went to the beach, where I thought the photo was taken, saw no confederate flag, and reported back to the resident that the social media story must be fake. Sadly, it was not fake news. The flag indeed was on the fence, further down the beach.

“A beach supervisor asked the guest to remove the flag from the fence. The guest complied.

“First, let me say, I’m sorry I did not walk the entire length of the fence to determine if the flag was on display. Obviously, not seeing it on the portion of fence I believed was in the photo, I felt relieved, hence my  assumption this was “fake” news.

“Second, let me be clear, any symbols of hate, superiority, or white nationalism are not welcome in Evanston. I have zero tolerance for anyone that is trying to frighten, intimidate, or bully another for any reason, including their race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I stand against hate of any kind and so does this City.”

A protest is being organized for tomorrow, Friday, at 2 p.m. at Lighthouse Beach.


Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...