The City of Wichita has decided to temporarily remove a Confederate flag from Veterans Memorial Park.
The flag was removed early Thursday morning, a move Mayor Jeff Longwell said was a joint decision made by many city officials. He added that the city has received requests for the flag to be removed, and until a decision is made, the city feels it’s best keep it down.
“We’ve received a number of emails and letters on both sides of this issue recently because of what’s happening nationally,” Longwell said.
Activists across the country have asked that Confederate flags be removed after nine black churchgoers were killed in Charleston, South Carolina, by an alleged white supremacist.
City Council member Lavonta Williams wants Wichita's flag down permanently, saying it represents many things, including race.
“I live with a husband who came from the South, and I understand the significance and I understand what it means,” Williams said. “The Confederate flag is a symbol for many people, and it’s not a positive symbol.”
The flag has been flown at Veterans Memorial Park since 1976 as part of an historic flag pavilion.
Longwell says he is meeting with a number of community “stakeholders” on Monday night to have a discussion about the flag. He doesn’t have a timeline for when the city will make its final decision.