Local residents outraged by the use of a Confederate flag in the city of Delaware’s July 4 parade will meet this weekend to plan a protest march in front of City Hall.
“We don’t have an actual date [set],” said Mark Butler, a 13-year resident in Delaware and co-founder of Acts 17:28 Ministries.
Others planning to attend include local residents Tamika Vinson and Patrick Parks, who along with Butler both spoke out against the Civil War-era relic’s use at Monday’s City Council meeting. The three have started a new activist group, Acts of Alliance, in response to not only the flag’s display in the parade but also to the recent shootings of black males by police across the nation.
“Acts of Alliance is really about educating one another,” Parks said.
City and county officials have said the Fourth of July parade isn’t financed by taxpayers and is managed by the Delaware County Farm Bureau.
Parade officials have told The Gazette it will make changes to prevent the flag’s appearance next year.
Butler said he received positive responses from people after the council meeting, thanking him for bringing it to their attention. He said some residents had taken notice of the flag in the parade and “they didn’t know what to say.”
Although no date was set, he has a clear sense of the march’s goals.
“Community awareness, that’s No. 1,” he said. “No. 2, educational dialogue. … We really don’t want to start the Civil War again but we want to start an educational dialogue.”
During the parade, the red flag with a blue “X” aligned with stars was waved in the back of a truck. Melody Wells’ 17-year-old son owns the truck and drove it to support historical and religious freedoms and veterans, she said.
“It has nothing to do with racism at all,” she told The Gazette Wednesday.
Butler said he hadn’t familiarized himself with the flag wavers’ stance yet, but said it’s important to have an open discussion.
“Every opinion is important,” he said. “We just got to have dialogue together.”
For more information about the march, email at [email protected]
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.