NORFOLK, Va. (CN) – A civil rights group in Virginia pettioned the Norfolk City Council to abolish public displays of the Confederate flag in city courtrooms, and remove a Confederate monument from Main Street.
The United Front for Justice and its director of civil rights, Roy Perry-Bey, asked the Norfolk mayor and city council to remove the monument because according to them, “the Confederate flag and monument are a symbol of hate.”
In an interview with WAVY 10 News, Perry-Bey conveyed his strong sentiments about what the monument negatively symbolizes.
“Here we have a statue that represents everything ugly about the past and future that we’re still fighting,” Perry-Bey said. “It means everything to those of us who understand segregation and discrimination, racial hate and bigotry.”
On August 6, Perry-Bey sent a letter to the governor, mayors, and city councils of the Commonwealth of Virginia asking them to ban citizens from displaying hand held Confederate flags in public chambers.
In the letter Perry-Bey states, “Our … coalition respects all Americans’ First Amendment rights, but allowing the Confederate flag to be displayed inside a public meeting continues to set an impermissible precedent where other flags, including ‘ISIS, Third Reich Nazi German, Gay Rights and Anti-Abortion flags,’ would have to be allowed even in our Courts.”
On August 10, Perry-Bey followed delivered a petition to the Norfolk city council requesting that the Confederate Flag Memorial currently located on Main Street be removed, and replaced with a monument of Army Sargent William Harvey Carney, the first African American soldier to earn the Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor.
Carney received the honor for saving the American flag from Confederate capture and planting it on the parapet despite being wounded several times during assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863.
In the petition Perry-Bey points out that honoring the Confederate Flag Monument stands against what the Sgt. Carney and many others have fought and died to protect.
“Our civil rights coalition wish to make it very clear, that The Commonwealth of Virginia, is not a Confederate state nor the City of Norfolk, a Confederate city,” the petition says in part.
Its continued public display is tantamount to an act of treason, the group maintains.
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