WASHINGTON, D.C. — The SPLC Action Fund’s Lecia Brooks released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives 335-78 bipartisan passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a veto-proof majority.
“This vote is long overdue, but a positive first step towards righting a historical wrong. The veto-proof majority vote will help ensure that within three years no member of the military – particularly men and women of color – will ever again serve on a Confederate-named military base that celebrates white supremacists who fought to ensure that they would never be full participants in American democracy.
“Symbols honoring traitors to the United States should have never been prominently placed in public spaces, such as government land, schools, and parks. It is particularly reprehensible that they've been recognized by the U.S. military for so long, including on the ten military bases named for defeated Confederate generals who fought to dehumanize and keep Blacks in chains.
“Those names are forever linked to the painful reminders of racial terror, oppression, and segregation that have marred this country for far too long. None of those men reflect the shared values of dignity and respect this country aspires to; they represent the literal opposite.
“We call on senators of good conscience from both parties to ignore President Trump’s blustering and follow the lead of their House colleagues by passing the bill by a veto-proof majority. It’s time for those names – and all Confederate-related symbols and imagery – to be removed.”
Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent letters to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the National Guard Bureau Chief urging them to remove Confederate symbols from all of their installations in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2018, the SPLC released an updated version of its Whose Heritage? report, identifying nearly 1,800 Confederate monuments, parks, schools, state holidays and other symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces across the South and the nation.