Brian Morris, Franklin Twp. Board of Trustees president, published a letter Friday on the township’s Facebook page about his meeting earlier this week with Corey Andon of the Dayton-based organization Socialist Alternative.
Morris talked about the protests and anger the township has seen during the past few months concerning a 90-year-old marker honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Dixie Highway.
“While this has raised internal struggle that we wrestle with, it has also opened dialogue that had been previously lacking,” Morris said. “The dialogue I mention is not restricted to civil rights but also includes things such as religious freedom, political differences, and even the importance of truly understanding our American history and its importance to our future.”
Morris said he believes it’s his responsibility as the trustee president “to take a situation such as this and not only resolve it, but turn it into an opportunity for all of us to learn from.”
Morris told this news outlet that he reached out to Andon and met with him Wednesday.
“While we disagreed on many things, we found many common grounds and above all a mutual respect for one another,” Morris said. “We talked for over an hour and left with open minds, a genuine hand shake, and the shared interest of bringing peace and a mutual closure to the situation at hand.”
While the marker will be returning in a new location on Dixie Highway, Morris said it will be in a location that is on privately owned property.
Morris said he and Andon agreed that threats by individuals on each side of the debate were uncalled for and should never happen in the future.
“It is never acceptable to threaten violence to accomplish a political goal or undermine democracy,” he said. “Neither side supports the threats that were received and we adamantly oppose such methods.”
“Open minds and heart filled conversations accomplish far more than anger and quick judgment,” Morris said.