We want to take the time to introduce a hero to you; her name is Celeste Barber. She is a former college professor who decided to take a stand for America and freedom. She proudly lifted the flag high as she recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Not a huge deal, right? Well, she did it in response to Santa Barbara Community College banning the Pledge from their public meetings.
Barber took 4 minutes during a board of trustees public meeting to voice her opinion on why should we fight for the flag. She knows what real oppression looks like as she has spent time living behind the Soviet bloc along the Berlin Wall. Her father fought for freedom in the Battle of the Bulge. Celeste stood tall, took her American flag out, as there were none visible, and stated the pledge of allegiance. Others around her began to mock her, tried to drown her out by banging on desks and screaming. She pressed on with tears in her eyes and her voice shaking.
Why did she have to go through this process? Why are leaders and influencers in our country rebelling against our nation’s flag? The President of Santa Barbara Community College’s Board of Trustee’s said that the decision was based on the flag and America’s history of white nationalism and bigotry.
Perhaps the board’s worldview doesn’t expand beyond United States soil; maybe they haven’t seen true oppression. Chad Robichaux, Mighty Oaks President and Founder, has spent time in other countries and has seen real oppression, cultures rooted in systemic racism and hatred of skin, color, religion, or class. Just like Celeste Barber’s Father, Chad, and many other brave men and women like him, have come together to liberate the oppressed and stand up for people who cannot stand up for themselves.
Yes, our history is not perfect or clean by any stretch of the imagination. As a nation, we have learned and grown into a beacon of hope and freedom. Our flag is not a representation of our past failures as a country or the hatred of a few. We need to learn our history, the good and the bad. Most importantly, we need to continue to fight to come together as a nation and hold what is sacred — our freedom; which is fought for by generation after generation of patriots.