YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region denounces the display of Confederate flags by some Bay City, Michigan citizens yesterday. Fueling this display is a debate of “heritage not hate,” however this debate states the obvious – this particular heritage is hate. When someone says it is about history, this history is inseparable from hate and racism. There is no way to separate the fact that the Confederate flag was resurrected in the 1940’s and 1950’s as part of a massive resistance campaign against the civil rights movement. It would not exist in our national popular culture had it not been for this fight for equality. So as African Americans fight for their equality, the Confederate battle flag has recovered and redeployed as a symbol of opposition to it. We urge our local school systems to take this opportunity to educate our youth on this very important issue.
The mission of YWCA is to eliminate racism and empower women. We hope that members of our region will stand with us as we work toward building a community of citizens who are aware of the negative impact that institutional and structural racism has toward people of color and who will work toward racial justice.