By Rebekah Rae. CREATED Jul 6, 2014
Norfolk, NE - The city of Norfolk denies any involvement with an Independence day parade and a controversial float.
Outrage began after a float appeared in the annual "Odd Fellows Lodge Forth of July parade". A pickup carried a zombie-like dummy in front of an outhouse which read "Obama's Presidential Library".
"It's definitely a personal issue for me," Glory Kathurima calls the float racist. "This image and the words stamped across an outhouse were trying to equate the president, a black president with what you do in an outhouse."
Kathurima and her daughter were enjoying the parade until their excitement turned to fear. "It's disrespectful to a sitting president and incredibly racist."
As the float passed by, they felt alone as everyone around them cheered. "We try to navigate our way in a white community with people who aren't open to discussing the racial tensions in America and especially in such a small community like this." Kathurima's daughter Malaika was confused by the audience support as well. "Why are you clapping, it's not very nice to do," said the 9-year old.
Mayor Sue Fuchtman said the city has no role in the annual parade. Odd fellows lodge requested to use city streets to sponsor the annual Independence day parade. "They've been doing this for many years," she says granting approval is the only involvement she has with the parade.
Odd Fellows is responsible for who and what is allowed in the parade. "I don't believe that there has ever been a question by the Odd Fellows as to who should be allowed to be in the parade. I believe this has become very controversial because of a lot of different opinions."
Odd Fellows lodge member and parade emcee Wally Sonnenschein said the float was not intended to be racist. "It was registered as political satire and people thought it was funny." Sonnenschein said the float gained the most amount of audience support and won an honorary mention. "The owner was practicing freedom of speech."