BARRE, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont city approved raising the Black Lives Matter Flag, the “Thin Blue Line” flag and 20 other flags in a resolution that one city councilor called a “compromise” to satisfy opponents of a BLM proposal.
The Black Lives Matter flag will be flown at City Hall Park in Barre next month and will be lowered in January, Vermont Public Radio reported Monday. The 22 flags will be flown over the next two years. The resolution passed on a 4-3 vote last week.
Barre City Councilor John Steinman said Nov. 18 that the “compromise” resolution aims to “diffuse a contentious, divisive council, and to be responsive to all the citizens of the City of Barre.”
“So what I tried to do was to address everyone’s concern, and that made everyone unhappy — I’m sorry,” Steinman said. “But I felt it was the right thing to do, because it represents everyone in the city equally.”
Teddy Waszazak, one of three city councilors who opposed Steinman’s resolution, said that “it is ludicrous that somebody would propose the Thin Blue Line flag while also saying that they want unity and to end division.”
“We have seen the Thin Blue Line flag fly in Vermont with Confederate flags, with the Don’t Tread on Me flag,” Waszazak said. “And what happened (Tuesday) night shows that we can say, ‘Black lives matter,’ as long as we say, ‘Everything else matters.’ And that completely misses the point.”
Following the Black Lives Matter Flag, the Thin Blue Line flag will be raised in January, then a flag for the Green Mountain Boys in February, and then an Irish heritage flag in March.
Others included are multiple flags of other countries, the U.S. Marines, Autism Acceptance and the Star of David.
The resolution comes after Barre’s city government had been mulling a request to fly a Black Lives Matter flag since late spring, when Councilor Ericka Reil proposed raising the banner in City Hall Park in response to the killing of George Floyd.
“So if this is the compromise I have to do, then this is the compromise I have to do to have a Black Lives Matter flag flown,” Reil said Tuesday. “It’s not what I wanted, but it’s what I got.”