YORK, S.C. -- Local NAACP chapters are teaming up to protest the SC Sons of Confederate Veterans’ annual conference this weekend.
Hundreds are expected to attend the conference in York, bringing with them Confederate flag memorabilia.
“We could not remain silent because silence [the flag] has caused too much pain,” NAACP leader Dr. Jaques Days said Monday. “The Confederate flag represents a racist past and a divisive history”
For almost a year, the Sons of Confederate Veterans have planned to hold their annual conference at York Technical College.
School officials maintained they could not legally refuse the group. On Monday, the NAACP has announced they will protest outside the event.
“We are in protest to combat the message of the Sons of Confederate Veterans with our message of peace awareness and our stance against anything that divides our community,” said Rock Hill NAACP President Dorene Boular.
Boular says they expect anywhere between 500 and 1000 protesters to join in at York tech this Friday and Saturday.
“We could not remain silent when they were potentially planning to bring that flag and its racist history to an academic institution,” Dr. Days said/
Sons of Confederate Veterans leader Leland Summers told NBC Charlotte Monday that they will bring Confederate flag memorabilia, but will keep it all inside the private event.
He says despite their efforts to sit down with NAACP leaders and discuss their issues, their calls and invitations have not been returned.
Dr. Days offered a conflicting explanation, saying he did try to reach out to the SCV.
“I left a message,” he explained. “I did not strongly pursue that but I did leave a message and ask him to get back to me; I did not hear back from them.”
The participating NAACP chapters say anyone is welcome to join the protests, as long as they agree to remain peaceful.
“Some may think this flag issue is not worth raising,” Dr. Days said. “We say it is one battle in a greater war.”
The protest organizers will hold an informational meeting and pep rally on Thursday, March 16 at the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center, 745 Saluda Street at 7 p.m.
The protests will be held Friday March 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday March 18 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside York Technical College.