Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee urges the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles not to issue license plates with a painful symbol from the past.
It’s a fact that the Confederate flag is deeply rooted in the story of America’s past. But it is also a fact that the flag symbolizes the kind of painful intolerance that many would like to forget.
So it was no surprise that debate is erupting after the Sons of Confederate Veterans petitioned the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to make license plates with Confederate symbolism available to motorists.
The NAACP has teamed up with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston), to bring a halt to the group’s plan. At a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday, Jackson Lee contended that while no one wishes to deny the history of Texas as a state, leaders should support that which unites people.
“License plates are designed to promote tourism and commerce, to create positive identity and awareness and to showcase those riches that make our state unique,” she said. ”The confederate flag, long recognized in our generation as a symbol of slavery, racism and defeat, accomplishes none of those purposes.”
Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, has vowed to continue to monitor this developing situation. “Most states have policies that prohibit offensive images on things enshrined and sponsored by the state. I cannot predict what will happen in Texas but we will not take the boycott option off the table.”
The civil rights group launched a long-standing tourism boycott of South Carolina after officials placed a large confederate flag near the statehouse dome.
“There’s a movement not only to address these offensive icons in Texas but to remove confederate battle flags from other places of honor and reverence throughout the country,” said Shelton.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will decide whether to move forward with offering the symbol on license plates during a vote scheduled for Nov. 10.
(Photo: AP Photo/Texas Department of Motor Vehicles)