CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)– A group in Chattanooga is under fire after projecting derogatory comments about the President on the Federal Courthouse “earlier” this week.
This picture is sparking a debate on social media about whether things like this fall under that umbrella of free speech.
Roland Martin visited UTC today and we interviewed him about this issue because he had been outspoken about the President’s alleged comments.
Martin says, “You have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. So too many people I think, get caught up in somehow thinking I can say whatever I want, I can do whatever I want and that there is not going to be consequences. That’s actually not the case.”
Martin is a seasoned journalist and former analyst for CNN.
The Chattanooga Light Brigade posted this to their facebook and then in the comments said that they will definitely be lighting up the Chatt Skyline with “hard-hitting truth”.
News 12 spoke with one man over the phone who did not want to be identified, but he says he’s working to see if there is a way to stop this from happening at the Federal Courthouse.
The concerned citizen says, “I think that it is complete disrespect for the people of Chattanooga to have to look up and see things like that.”
Martin says, “Yes you have the right say whatever you want, but there will be repercussions and consequences.”
Roland Martin says among that is the backlash from people who feel differently than you and that is exactly what the group says happened. They say that they have been the target of threats from supporters of the President.
The Chattanooga resident that I spoke with says that backlash from his point of view is not politically driven.
The concerned citizen says, “If I had seen something like thathappened 7-8 years ago… If it had of been Obama’s name up there, I would have been just as apalled.”
Martin says the bigger issue is the need for people to learn how to disagree, but to do so civil way.
“We need people who are not afraid of debate, and that to me is an issue. He knows exactly what he is doing when he says why can’t we have more norweigns, instead of folks from haiti, African, El Salvador. My issue is if you’re going to speak fine… you’re going to face that heat when you come,” Martin says.
The Chattanooga Light Brigade issued this statement just after 5 pm Friday.
“On January 15th, in response to Trump’s recent statements referring to African countries, Haiti, and El Salvador as “shithole” nations, the Chattanooga Lightbrigade projected “Shithole President” onto the federal building in downtown Chattanooga. The “Shithole President” messaging really resonated with people and was shared widely online, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of days. Multiple media outlets have contacted the light brigade requesting interviews, which we are declining at this point because we all have busy lives working, caretaking, and homemaking. We offer this statement instead. The context in which Trump used the term “shithole” nations dehumanizes entire continents and nations of people and leads to increased hate crimes, as we have witnessed since his election. It is our obligation to counter such messaging and the violence it gives birth to. The Chattanooga Lightbrigade has consistently stood up to bullies and in solidarity with the most marginalized and will continue to do so. These acts of resistance are particularly important in areas like TN where support for Trump is strong. We want all the immigrant children that have come here in hopes of a better life and sit quietly in fear while they hear people chanting “build the wall” to know that they are not alone. We want our LGBT brothers and sisters to know when Trump rolls back protections for them that they are not alone. We want our disabled brothers and sisters to know that when Trump mocks them and dismisses them that they are not alone. We want our black brothers and sisters to know when Trump calls for an increased police state that they are not alone in saying black lives matter. When Trump calls entire continents and nations “shitholes,” we want the want the world to know he does not speak for us and we are many. Local trump supporters have tried to silence the group through bullying and intimidation but we will not be silenced. People easily angered by the post have been stalking and harassing anyone they can find online with a loose affiliation to the organization, including single mothers, and their families, not even caring if they were present for this particular action or not, encouraging people to show up at their homes and threatening to make their lives miserable. Facebook has already removed several of the threatening posts due to a violation of their community standards and the organization is working with officials to make sure those making threats are held accountable for their actions. You can support the Chattanooga Light Brigade by following us on Facebook.
The Chattanooga Light Brigade”
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