KILLEEN, Texas — A debate over a flag that honors Juneteenth has divided the Killeen City Council, which will vote next week on whether to fly it over City Hall.
Juneteenth, which is short for June Nineteenth, marks the end of slavery not only in Texas but the United States in 1865.
Ronnie Russell with the Innovative Black Chamber of Commerce wants the flag to be flown at City Hall on June 18, June 19 and June 20.
“Juneteenth is American history,” said Russell. “And as we raise this flag we are now setting the tone in this city.”
Russell believes the raising of the Juneteenth flag is a sign of progress.
“Especially with the climate we are in right now. Progression is where we are going. Whether it is progression on where we are as a people, or progression to where we are having a tough conversation. We have to begin to have conversations if we are ever going to heal,” said Russell.
The City of Killeen does not have a policy to fly flags other than the United States flag, the Texas flag and the City of Killeen flag.
Councilwoman Debbie Nash-King supports raising the Juneteenth flag, but Mayor Jose Segarra has concerns this will open Pandora's box for other groups to want the same. Councilman Rick Williams agrees.
"As an African American, I am extremely proud of Juneteenth. As an American I am proud of all things we have accomplished as a country. And I believe if we open the door to one, we must open the door to all,” said Williams.
“My reaction to their discussion is just do the right thing,” said Russell. “For me, I’m not waiting for a who voted for what. I am ensuring that once the flag gets here, we are ready for it. If the answer is yes, we are ready for it."
On Tuesday, Killeen City Council will vote on whether to hang the Juneteenth flag.
You can watch the meeting here.