National Action Network to protest Contraband Days

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

The National Action Network intends to conduct a protest during Contraband Days 2013.

Local chapter leader Rosie Glapion said the organization — founded by nationally known activist the Rev. Al Sharpton — wants

the festival to change its name and theme.

“We believe that Contraband Days is a racist thing. There are so many negatives to it,” Glapion said during a press briefing

Friday.

Glapion and her associates have been protesting against the festival for years. They contend the symbols associated with the

festival like Jean Lafitte and cross bones are not sensitive to African-Americans and women. The group intends to protest

peacefully as the mayor walks the plank to mark the start of festivities.

“What we want is a new festival now. Start from scratch,” Glapion said.

The announcement coincided with the official announcement that a National Action Network chapter was opened in Lake Charles.

Sharpton started the National Action Network, a nonprofit civil rights organization, in 1991.

Glapion said the goal of the group is to work for justice and peace around the country.

Glapion has waged a personal battle against the festival since 2004, writing letters to media outlets. Last year, a group

of National Action Network officials met with their counterparts from Lake Charles City Hall and Contraband Days.

Glapion said the meetings did not lead to the type of changes the National Action Network wanted.

“I firmly believe what we are trying to do will make Lake Charles better,” she said. “Contraband Days drags the city down.”