(Orange, Texas)

March 26, 2013

VIDEO: Town meeting gives residents opportunity to speak out

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Martin Luther King Jr. stood for equality among people.

Orange residents attended a Town Hall Meeting Saturday at the American Legion Lloyd Grubbs Post 49, 108 Green Avenue in Orange, to speak their opinions concerning the Confederate Flag Memorial already under construction on Interstate 10 and adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Residents spoke out against the symbolism the Confederate flag represents and the location selected for the park.

Rev. Nathaniel Brown, president of National Action Network, Galveston, Texas Chapter spoke during the meeting.

Brown suggested having a city ordinance passed dictatcting that monuments and parks could not be errected within a certain area already dedicated to a view.

An inviation to the meeting was sent to each member of the Orange City Council, the city manager and the city attorney. Two council members attended, Essie Bellfield and Annette Pernell. Pernell was also one of the panel of speakers during the event.

The Sons of the Confederate Veterans November 2011 newsletter stated they were making great progress at the “Confederate Memorial of the Winds”.

Residents became aware of the plans for the park when the city issued a building permit on February 11, 2013.

Granvel Block, Commander of the local Sons of the Confederate Veterans, was asked to be present to address his side as well. Block did not attend, nor did anyone representing the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

Block supposedly has received threats at his house concerning the memorial and he told his wife he will try to stay out of the news. These reports have not been confirmed by press-time.

Leslie Barras, attorney, said she has written letters to chambers of commerce throughout Texas stating the park does not represent the views of residents of Orange.

“I think the park is a horrible, terrible idea,” Barras said. “I am a direct decedent of a Confederate Veteran.”

Brown said there is a possibility the National Action Network may come to Orange to aid in residents concerns.

Pernell asked the residents to talk to the council.

“Help us to help you to help our city,” Pernell said.

Doris Gans, resident, said the park was an insult to all of Texas.

“It is not an Orange, Texas issue. It is a Texas issue,” Gans said. “Orange is the first city to say welcome to Texas to visitors.”

The concern of those speaking out was the image the park would bring to Orange.

Members of the panel said it would be better to honor the veterans, or individual than the flag.

Addy Allen said she has requested the city council to place an item on the agenda so they could address the issue.

“I made the request on February 19, 2013,” Allen said. “It has not been put on the agenda.”

A meeting to continue discussions of the park is to be held on April 1. Time and location has yet to be announced.