COLD SPRING – Around a hundred people, many of them teenagers, gathered Tuesday night to protest a Confederate flag hanging outside of a home in Cold Spring.

It’s the second protest held in as many weeks in front of the home, located on 5th Ave. across from ROCORI High School.

Protesters waved to passing vehicles and carried hand-painted signs, while others drew chalk messages on the sidewalk in front of the home.

“As you’re entering the north side, (the flag) is the first thing you see,” said protest organizer Jayda Woods. “I respect everyone’s right to free speech and everything, but I also have the right to protest it. There are consequences when your free speech is hurtful.”

Woods, a 2018 ROCORI graduate and current University of Georgia student, organized the protests using social media platforms Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. The first event drew between 50-60 people, a significant number of them teens and young adults from the Cold Spring area.

Woods arrived home early from college this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic and noticed the flag had been rehung after several years of absence. She penned a letter to the homeowner this summer to share her views on the display.

Confederate Flag Outside Cold Spring Home Draws Protesters

“He told me it’s his right and his heritage, and he can do whatever he wants,” she said. “He told me, if it bothers me, I shouldn’t look at it. But, it’s kind of hard not to look at a confederate flag right across from your school.”

“They’re angry at me, and that’s okay,” Woods added. “I’m just as angry at them. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, no matter what they say.”

Woods says the events are peaceful; Tuesday night’s protesters remained on public property behind a line of sprinklers set up as a deterrent by the homeowner. Woods says the reaction from local residents to both protests has been mixed.

“As soon as we got there, a neighbor power-hosed a few people drawing on the sidewalk,” Woods said. “There were some thumbs down and middle fingers. But a lot of people in the community showed up and thanked us. They said, ‘finally, someone is doing something about this.’"

"I feel like it can be hard to figure out what you can do about something. Now, there’s stuff we can do so people are seen and heard,” she added.

Woods plans to address the Cold Spring City Council about the flag during their Tuesday night meeting.

The owner of the home declined to be interviewed for this story. 

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