Two municipalities in North Carolina opted to cancel their Christmas parades (put on by their respective chambers’ of commerce organizations) after social media postings criticized the events for including floats sponsored by Confederate-supporting organizations.
Garner, North Carolina, canceled its parade in response to social media postings, none of which made any specific threat to disrupt the parade or cause harm of any kind, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Nevertheless, officials concluded that “the event could be targeted for disruption,” based on other protests of Confederate monuments that have occurred elsewhere.
One of the groups who were outspoken about the float, which was sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, voiced dissatisfaction to cancel the entire parade rather than just remove the one offending part of it.
“The Confederate flag has been banned from schools, license plates, government buildings, Veterans Administration cemeteries, NASCAR, and leading retailers. The Town of Garner should join them and ban Confederate flags from the Christmas parade,” Move Silent Sam wrote in a social media post. (The group is named for an effort to remove a statue of a Confederate Soldier at UNC-Chapel Hill.)
The Sons of Confederate Veterans promote racist Civil War myths and engage in white supremacist activity.
It would be great if Garner and Wake Forest could carry on with future Christmas parades without including divisive and hurtful symbols like the Confederate flag. pic.twitter.com/xeyZ1YlDT4
— Move Silent Sam (@Move_Silent_Sam) December 5, 2019
Shortly after Garner’s decision to cancel its event, officials in Wake Forest, North Carolina, followed suit, canceling its parade that would have included a float from the Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy.
Originally, Wake Forest had planned to keep the parade going after initial concerns were brought forward. But when a planned protest went from 10 protesters to 200, city officials canceled the parade, citing safety reasons, ABC News reported.
“We aren’t happy telling kids they can’t attend or participate in this year’s parade — but it’s better than trying to explain to a parent whose child was injured despite so many warning signs,” Wake Forest Police Chief Jeff Leonard said in a statement.