A pro-military billboard put up by a gun range in southern New Jersey has been declared "racist" by several activists, including the local chapter of the NAACP and a progressive feminist group, because it takes a shot at the national anthem protests. Despite mounting pressure, the gun range has stood by their message, saying it has "nothing to do with race" and everything to do with expressing "support for our veterans."
The billboard promoting the South Jersey Shooting Club features a silhouette of a soldier with his rifle drawn while kneeling. The caption reads, "The only time we take a knee..."
In response, MoNeke Ragsdale posted an image of the billboard with a message urging others to call the gun range and demand that the billboard be taken down:
This billboard on Rt. 73 in Voorhees. Tell them this billboard is racist. Taking a knee is a protest to say NO to police brutality. The women of SJWPC are taking a knee to support black and brown people. Take it down! The Manager is Carmen Console: 609-704-9500.
The NAACP's Camden County East chapter and the South Jersey Women for Progressive Change have joined the movement to pressure the shooting club to take down the billboard — pressure which the range has thus far resisted.
"We're talking about police murdering unarmed black people," said NAACP member Keith Benson Sr., The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Like Ragsdale, Benson urged people to call the club and urge them to take it down.
"They deserve all the disrespect they’re going to get as a result of putting it up," said Benson of the gun range. "But they probably thought they were clever. They probably thought they were strong, patriotic Americans."
Susan Druckenbrod, a member of the South Jersey Women for Progressive Change — which The Philadelphia Inquirer notes was formed in response to Donald Trump winning the election — said she tried to call the range to complain about the "racist" billboard, but didn't get the reaction she was hoping for.
"I told them the billboard was offensive, and he said, 'That’s nice,' and he hung up," she said. "We’re living in a very difficult time right now. People are trying to stand up for black and brown people to say, 'Hey this is not right.' That sign really is just mocking the idea of taking a knee."
In response to the outrage from left-wing activists, the shooting club said simply that the message isn't about race at all but about supporting veterans.
"It has absolutely nothing to do with race," said owner Wesley Aducat. "It's just support for our veterans."
As for those who refuse to stand for the anthem, Aducat said he defends their right to protest, but doesn't agree with the message.