For three years, visitors, commuters, and residents in Stafford County have been driving past the I-95 Confederate Flag. The flag was erected on private property, but most people from out of the area do not know this. The message the flag sends to those coming through our county is one of divisiveness, racism, intolerance and bigotry. The property owner has a history of publicly posting racially charged comments and refuses to take down the flag.
The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has been offered numerous options to respond to the flag, none of which would have violated the property owner's property rights or First Amendment rights. They have hidden behind the county attorney's advice against taking action to remove the flag, but have made no efforts to otherwise counteract the flag's message.
On Wednesday, September 20th, I applied for a permit to construct a flagpole of identical construction on my own property. I was awarded the permit. Using the county's logic, my own flagpole cannot be touched for fear of violating my personal property rights. I live in an historic part of Stafford County, near George Washington's boyhood home, and across the river from downtown Fredericksburg. My flagpole will be easily visible by tourists to our region, as well as residents and commuters and will hopefully counteract the message of the flag on I-95 to some extent.
My intent is to fly a Black Lives Matter flag over my property if the board refuses to take any further action over the I-95 flag. I am the mother of a beloved African-American child who wants to know she is loved and safe within her community. We have dubbed the flagpole project The Freedom Pole.
To read more about the issue, please visit http://wtop.com/stafford-county/2017/09/opponents-confederate-flag-95-may-fly-huge-black-lives-matter-sign/
Please do not post about how there are better things to spend money on. The small microaggressions people of color face on a daily basis must be confronted head-on for them to truly enjoy equality. We hope that the Freedom Pole will help level the playing field. Please donate if you are so moved, and share to your networks.
- Ed & Karen Wright
- Pat Dewees
- tafirenyika gamanya
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