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Petition to get controversial billboard taken down near Harrison, Ark.

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Driving north on Highway 65 toward Harrison, it’s not hard to spy the “White Pride Radio” billboard.

”It’s an entrance to our town. The first thing people see when they drive in is this billboard. And that’s not the message our community wants to convey,” said Kelsey Bardwell, the attorney representing the Harrison Task Force on Race Relations.

The sign went up in 2013, and the Task Force has wanted it gone for years.

”There have been other billboards in the past. This is actually the last standing one. And it’s disgusting. It’s off-putting, and not a true representation of the majority here,” said Elizabeth Darden, a volunteer with the Task Force.

The Alt Right TV media website shown on the billboard was founded by the Knight Party, formerly the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Some in town don't like the message "White Pride" sends to their community."We are all created equal. Why aren't we treating each other equal?" Darden said.

Documents show the physical land and billboard used to be owned by Harrison Sign Company, and the billboard is leased out.

Bardwell said the Fort Smith, Ark., based company Pro-Signs, Inc. does business as Harrison Sign Company. 

Land documents show the land the billboard sits on was conveyed from the Harrison Sign owners over to Robb Law Firm on Monday. The billboard is still under the name of the Harrison Sign owners, as far as records show.

"Robb Law Firm is the law firm that represents the KKK," Bardwell said.

We were unable to get ahold of anyone with the Robb Law Firm.

The owner of Harrison Sign said he was just doing business, and it's his customer's First Amendment right to have that sign up.

But even though it is their right, the Task Force said it’s still wrong.

“It’s tarnishing our town’s name and preventing businesses from wanting to invest here, preventing employees from wanting to come and work here,” Bardwell said.

The Task Force has started a petition with thousands of signatures to get the sign taken down.

”We can do something by speaking out. We can’t control whether they want to take that sign down. We are just asking them to do the right thing,” Bardwell said.

"Harrison, Arkansas, no longer wants to be known as the most racist community in the country. We do not tolerate racism, bigotry and hatred," Darden said.

The petition is on change.org and already has about 8,400 signatures.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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