FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Ronald G. Waters
PLBC chairman condemns Lamar Advertising for allowing slave billboard
HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Ronald G. Waters, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has written a letter condemning Lamar Advertising for the Harrisburg billboard depicting an image of slavery and asking the company to avoid racially motivated images in the future.
The billboard was sponsored by the American Atheists and Pa. Nonbelievers organizations to send a message to state legislators who supported H.R. 535 naming 2012 the year of the Bible. Located at 13th and Paxton streets, it featured a black male with a metal collar around his neck and the message, "Slaves, obey your masters."
Waters said that the negative depiction is an antiquated view that drew outrage and offended entire communities.
"Such an image does not assist in the progression of our capital city, commonwealth or nation," Waters wrote. "This image and mere reminder of slavery are offensive to minority citizens in the city of Harrisburg.
"We are well aware of what occurred to blacks during the early history of this nation, a blatant billboard is unnecessary.
"I would hope that your company would strongly consider setting a standard that would not allow this type of use of your billboards. Your company should support images that uplift the community by promoting culturally enriching advertisement celebrating the diversity present with the neighborhood of 13th and Paxton streets and beyond, rather than ostracizing minorities and religious and God-fearing communities. Such billboards do no assist in moving our capital city of Harrisburg forward, our commonwealth as a whole or our nation. We must promote positive imagery that will invoke discussion and curiosity among citizens instead of violence, anger and confusion. It is my hope that your company will no longer participate in allowing racially motivated of defamatory imaging to stand in Harrisburg."