MONTGOMERY, Ala. — SPLC Action Fund Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks released the following statement in response to Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s four-page memo that calls for expanded diversity within the military, but omits any resolution about removing Confederate symbols from military installations.
“It is shameful that Defense Secretary Mark Esper has chosen to follow President Trump’s lead in continuing to glorify symbols of white supremacy and oppression within our military.
“Systemic racial bias is alive and well within our armed forces. The Department of Defense cannot seriously expect to expand its diversity nor reduce prejudice within the military’s ranks without addressing the numerous dehumanizing symbols of the Confederacy that still litter military bases.
“The SPLC Action Fund urges Secretary Esper to include removal of all Confederate symbols in their diversity efforts. We also ask all federal law enforcement branches, the military, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies to follow the Marine Corps and Navy’s lead by ordering the immediate removal of any and all symbols of the Confederacy from their respective spaces.”