Good Citizens of Barrington,
It is time to dust off your “Respect the Flag” lawn signs, submit “Keep Politics off the Pole” Letters to the Editor, and/or email your local Barrington Town Councilors to alert them of the errors of their ways. Although the year has changed, we will not see a change to the disrespectful and controversial Barrington Town Council Flag policy that has divided our community for more than two straight years.
While you were on vacation last summer, the Town Council held a poorly advertised “out of cycle” special Town Council meeting to autocratically select which partisan political flags would be permitted to fly under the US Flag at the Barrington Town Hall Veterans Memorial for the upcoming calendar year.
Despite the wishes of at least half the community, the Town Council plans again to raise the divisive and controversial BLM banner under the American Flag on February 1st, 2022. It will remain above our Veterans Memorial for the entire month for February to allegedly recognize Black History Month. Unfortunately, this banner along with its branded slogan represents an international organization that actually cares very little about the very community it claims to protect and represent. Instead, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation and its local affiliates desire to promote Anti-Nuclear Family values, disseminate Critical Race Theory viewpoints, defund local Law Enforcement, close prisons to release dangerous criminals prematurely, and ultimately advance Neo-Marxist goals. These are not the shared collective values that should be embraced by the Barrington Town Council who have been entrusted to represent our community.
The Barrington United Veterans Coalition has always held a singular position that the only flags that should be permitted to fly under the US Flag on town property be the State, Town and/or the POW/MIA flag. The display of these official governmental banners would be in keeping with the intent of the US Flag Code and would ensure that our national symbol be displayed with the utmost respect. This policy would also prevent the alienation of any members of our community. If the Town Council wishes to continue to use the US Flag pole as a “Public Forum for Free Speech”, then the Barrington Town Council must be prepared to authorize and grant the display of all kinds of banners to be flown under the US Flag, regardless of messaging and/or affiliation. As we speak, the Supreme Court is ruling on a very similar case involving the City of Boston and its banning of a “Religious” flag at Boston City Hall. We expect that the court will uphold the 1st Amendment and rule in favor of the petitioners in this de facto “Free Speech in the Public Forum” case.
If the Town insists on continuing to use the American Flag pole as a “Free Speech Zone”, then we think the banner design below would be more appropriate to honor our African American Community. It represents the protection of “Every Black Life”, not just those that help advance a specific partisan political agenda. In its design, it also includes the “Thin Lines of Color” that represent the collective sacrifices of all Black Servicemembers, Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders. The BUVC has currently procured this banner and is ready to donate it to the town for display in honor of Black History Month in lieu of the controversial BLM banner. It is time for unity and harmony and to move past this dark chapter in local town governance.
Barrington United Veterans Coalition
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?