Today, Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-3) reintroduced the No Funding for Confederate Symbols Act.
This legislation that would prohibit Federal funds from being used to create, maintain, or display, as applicable, any Confederate symbol on Federal public land, including any highway, park, subway, Federal building, military base, street, or other Federal property.
“The Confederate Battle Flag remains one of the most intractable symbols from the darkest chapter in U.S. history representing racism, slavery, the oppression of African Americans. In the two years since the violence and death that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, we must remember that in our recent history we witnessed men and women don white hoods and torches in the light of day to venerate a symbol of the Confederacy. Since that day of violence and death, our nation has continued to witness tragedy after tragedy inspired by white-supremacist ideologies and efforts to memorialize white-nationalist screed. These sentiments are manifest in Confederate symbols that remain present to this day and their continued presence will only further inflame our country as inspiration for those who seek to use their example to stoke division and fear,” said Congressman Espaillat.
“After the cold-blooded racist murders in a Charleston church and at a Charlottesville rally, there should be no question that in 2019, the Confederate flag is strongly associated with hate and violence stoked by racists and white supremacists. It is an insult to African Americans – and all Americans – to have our tax dollars used to create, maintain or display Confederate symbols on federal property. It’s been over 150 years since the end of the Civil War — these symbols belong in museums, not in places of honor on federal property,” said Congressman Evans.
“The Confederate symbol is a stain of hate, white supremacy, and divisiveness that should not be celebrated in American history, but instead condemned at every opportunity. Instead of clinging to our dark past, we as a country must focus on the issues that promote an inclusive future — protecting voting rights, supporting health care, advancing economic equity, and standing up against police brutality. On the two-year anniversary of the Charlottesville attack, National Action Network is pleased to support the No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act as a beacon of progress against the hate and bigotry,” said Reverend Al Sharpton, President & Founder, of the Harlem-based National Action Network.
“In the latest edition of “Whose Heritage? A Report on Public Symbols of the Confederacy,” the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies 116 Confederate symbols that have been removed since the Charleston massacre. Yet 1,747 remain standing across the U.S. Despite the false narrative that these symbols represent heritage, they actually preserve a revisionist Confederate history and substantiate the belief that white supremacy is still morally acceptable. The Southern Poverty Law Center endorses H.R. 3660/the No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act because Confederate symbols do not belong in public spaces such as government land, schools, and parks, nor should they be recognized by any military assets. The South is more than its Confederate past, and our political leaders need to begin working toward a shared future where all of American history is acknowledged and respected,” said Heidi Beirich, Director of the Intelligence Project for SPLC Action Fund.