Branson Mayor Edd Akers released a proclamation about unity as residents attended a meeting of the Board of Alderman to express their concern about a store that is selling confederate flags and other memorabilia related to it.
Comments at the meeting included residents questioned having a store like that in the middle of the entertainment district and the message it sends tourists; others acknowledged the owner’s Constitutional right to be there while saying the open display of a hate symbol smears the city; and others claims that the store’s owners are connected to a leader of the KKK in northwest Arkansas.
“For our tourists who come to visit this town, which includes 76 being the main attraction, what message are we sending as a community allowing this to happen?,” one public commenter said.
The public comment time lasted nearly an hour as people expressed their views against the business.
“I despite the KKK,” Alderman Larry Milton said. “I despite any organization that is vile and violent toward people for the simple reason for the color of their skin. I see no room in the United States for the KKK those who have those beliefs.”
Branson city officials have condemned the products sold by the store but have also noted it would be against the Constitution for the city to shut the business down simply because the store sells confederate flags and similar material that the protesters consider to be emblems of hate.
Mayor Edd Akers notes that issue in his proclamation.
“Although hate speech in certain contexts may be constitutionally protected it does not reflect the Branson community as a whole,” the Mayor wrote.