Hillcrest Business Association shared photo of Pride Flag plaque defacement.

A fundraiser has begun to repair damage to two plaques beneath the Pride Flag in Hillcrest — a vandalism that’s shaken the gay community.

“I am horrified at this act of cowardice,” Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association, was quoted as saying.

“I was one of the leaders of the effort to create this monument and I have fought to support the LGBT community in Hillcrest for over 10 years. This horrible vandalism shows that we need to continue this work. The HBA is working to have the monument repaired.”

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News’ publisher Hale Media and Crest Cafe have launched a fundraiser to repair the monuments and add a protective acrylic coat.

Plaques beneath the flag on University Avenue and Normal Street were scratched and damaged, according to reports.

People are invite to make a $20 donation, which Hale Media and Crest Cafe will match with a $20 meal voucher to be used at the restaurant.

Chloe Janda, public relations manager of San Diego Pride, said in a statement Tuesday that vandalism of a San Diego landmark created to signify unity “unfortunately is not out of the norm.”

“We’ve seen an uptick of hate crimes and intolerance in the past two years,” she said, “but we continue to work against intolerance and towards equality, inclusion and love.”

Janda said the Hillcrest Business Association reported last week’s incident to police and is under investigation.

“We do not want to give the vandals any more attention,” she said. “We encourage the LGBTQ+ community and allies to come together and show support in times like this.”

San Diego Pride on Wednesday will host the Pride World Forum, “Bridges of Love,” at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

The event is free and open to the public and will host 25 human rights leaders from around the world.

“It is the perfect event for the community to unite and to look forward to the 2019 Pride Festival and Parade as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots,” Janda said.

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