On Friday, June 5, the U.S. Marine Corps posted the following statement on its Twitter:
- The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps. Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society. This presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline. This must be addressed.
On that same day, the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, banned public displays of the Confederate battle flag in any form in “an order that extended to such items as mugs, posters and bumper stickers.”
Not long after the violence in Charlottesville, Granvel Block and Hank Van Slyke began displaying the Confederate flag on Martin Luther King, Dr. in Orange, Texas where Tracie grew up, where her family still lives, where we visit often with our children — and where half the population is black. The flag is featured prominently, within view of Interstate 10, on their “Confederate Memorial of the Wind.”
See their flyer, below, which they used to raise funds for the construction of the “memorial.”
Tracie and I began protesting their monument in 2017 and have organized numerous demonstrations since then. We’ll be protesting this Saturday. Please join us if you can. Here are the details.
Today, we are also launching a GoFundMe to post a billboard featuring a quote from Dr. King across the road from the memorial. Over the last two years, we’ve posted billboards for one-month periods to coincide with MLK Day and Black History Month. But now, thanks to the urging and aid of our friends, we’re trying to raise $11k to keep the billboard up for a year. It usually costs $1k per month but we’ve negotiated a discounted rate with the billboard company for a 52-week period.
Please contribute if you can here. Every contribution will get us closer to our goal.
Block and Van Slyke, despite numerous attempts to contact them, have refused to enter into dialog about how their obscene spectacle impacts the community. Block has threatened to “kick my ass” and we believe he was the author of an anonymous defamatory letter sent to Tracie’s grandmother (please be advised that it contains graphic sexual content). Block recently showed up at the church where my father-in-law serves as pastor. He claimed he was church shopping. I guess he’s brushing up on his Bible study.
Just as Confederate memorials are being torn down across the U.S., Granvel Block (above) and Hank Van Slyke built a new one on MLK Dr. in Orange, Texas where Tracie grew up and where half the residents are black. Granvel and Hank aren’t men. They are racist cowards who refuse to enter into dialog about how this is impacting their community (image via Granvel Block’s Facebook).
Please help us combat this explicit expression of racism by donating to our GoFundMe and by standing with us in protest.
Here’s the blog that we devoted to our campaign: RepurposeMemorial.com.
Thank you for your help and support. BLACK LIVES MATTER!