BLM flag display extended into next year

The Black Lives Matter flag will continue to fly outside Williston Town Hall for at least another nine months, the selectboard unanimously agreed Tuesday. 

The board originally approved raising the flag in February with an end date of June 21. The board will consider another extension next March. Cristalee McSweeney, representing the newly formed Williston Racial Equity Partnership, urged the board to make the flag a permanent installation alongside the U.S. and Vermont flags.

“The flag communicates that our community is willing to acknowledge that racism and white supremacy have oppressed African Americans for centuries and … sends a signal that we, as community, are committed to combatting racism and racial injustice,” the Racial Equity Partnership wrote in a letter to the board.

No board members expressed support for making the Black Lives Matter message a permanent fixture at Town Hall, but all five agreed that the underlying issue continues to be relevant and unresolved. 

“The issue it’s calling attention to is still an emergency,” board member Ted Kenney said.

Resident Cindy Provost takes exception to the flag singling out one race of people and said it doesn’t belong at Town Hall.

“When you fly the flag for one thing, that leaves everyone else out,” she said. “That flag, in a sense, is racist toward all the people it doesn’t represent in our town.”

— Jason Starr