By Julia Gsell
The City of Lexington could see three competing parades in one week this January, including a parade celebrating Confederate pride on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
According to the Virginia Flaggers’ website, CARE, an anti-racism group, has turned down its offer to switch parade dates. A CARE spokesman could not be reached for comment.
CARE, which stands for the Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative, was formed last spring. Two weeks ago, Lexington City Council approved CARE’s request for a parade through downtown Lexington on Saturday, Jan. 14, the day after Lee-Jackson Day. The Virginia state holiday honors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Confederate generals who both had deep connections to Lexington.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) have held a parade on this day for the last 15 years but had not yet applied for a 2017 permit. SCV’s stated purpose is to honor Civil War history and remember its veterans.
SCV hoped to talk CARE into giving the date back. But SCV asked for a parade permit for both Jan. 14 and Jan. 21, just in case things didn’t go their way.
That’s when the Virginia Flaggers, a more recently formed group, stepped in. The group has protested the removal of Confederate flags in the area and considers Lee-Jackson Day a major holiday. The Flaggers have applied for a parade permit on Martin Luther Jr. King’s birthday, Jan. 16, but hoped it would be more appealing to CARE.
A post on the Flaggers’ website Wednesday said the swap has not worked.
The City Council has not yet acted on the permit requests from the Flaggers or SCV.