07/07/2019: "Mullis Center Returns The Flag, & Allows The Pledge Of Allegiance"
(King-5 films protest at Mullis Center -IG photo)
[//updated 07-08-09, 10:45 am//] The removal of the American flag and forbidding the Pledge of Allegiance before lunch at the Mullis Community Senior Center (Center) resulted in controversy and division, not only among the members of the Center, but in the community at large.
The action by the Center was noted off island as well, and by last Friday King 5 News sent up a reported and camera crew to film a protest by those opposed to the ban at the Center.
After the protesters moved into the Center, Mullis Community Senior Center board member Stephen Shubert informed the group that “we [the Center board members] are changing the policy regarding the pledge effective immediately.”
Adding “It was discussed with the Executive Committee and agreed to take immediate action to reinstate the Pledge every meal day, promptly at 11:30 AM using only participants of the meal program, or staff or board. A signup sheet is available at the cashiers table to put your name on the list.”
Shubert stated “This crisis has gone too far - what started as a disagreement between fellow seniors almost immediately escalated and outside groups were brought in, who took it upon themselves to ‘solve your problem’. It is the fault of the Board and Executives to fail to listen and dialogue with program participants about the matter. On behalf of the Operations Committee I promise that we will listen and we will negotiate until we reach a satisfactory resolution on issues of concern. It is clear that the Board must commit itself to assessing ourselves as individuals and as an service centered organization to seek areas of improvement, including communications.”
Since Shubert stated the flag was back in place, and Shubert had led the group in stating the pledge, it was uncertain what “issues of concern” he was referencing that required a “satisfactory resolution.”
Why was the flag removed and a prohibition of anyone stating the Pledge made in the first place? According to a report by King 5 News, staff stated the number of people showing up for lunch has decreased, in part because more liberal members were put off by “overt signs of patriotism;” however, the February 5, 2019 minutes of the Center’s operations committee state: “Meals were up month-to-month and year-to-year…”
The minutes also show a discussion on the issue of a pledge and pray being recited, with the comment “multiple people object either being done at our meals.” But according to the minutes “a previous poll taken a few year ago favored both the pledge and pray.” The discussion was tabled.
(Stephen Shubert address the protesters -IG photo)