Addition of Confederate group to suburban July Fourth festival causing controversy

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MOKENA, Ill. — An addition to a southwest suburban Fourth of July celebration is causing controversy among residents.

The 2nd Kentucky cavalry Company D is scheduled to be a part of Mokena’s festivities. According to their website, it is a group of “living historians that celebrate The Confederacy and the values it embraced.”

But some who live in Mokena say that does not have a place in an Independence Day celebration.

Some have called out their local government for allowing an appearance by a group that will portray Confederate soldiers. Opponents say they are taking issue with the reference to a time of great division in America that has no place on the Fourth of July.

Emily Biegel is the founder of the group Southwest Suburban Activists.

“There’s really no reason, historically, to have the Civil War as part of a July Fourth celebration,” she said.

Since the group called attention to this, there has been backlash on social media including a member of the local planning commission asking if “the cannons can maybe be aimed at the activists.”

“I mean, if we can’t come together on the Fourth of July and agree that slavery was wrong and is not something that should be celebrated, I don’t know what we can all come together on,” Biegel said.

Mayor Frank Fleischer and most other village officials did not comment. WGN News received a statement from Mokena’s village administrator John Tomasoski, who said the event is actually about being inclusive.

“Everyone has a right to their interpretation. We’re certainly not trying to offend anyone. We’re trying to make it a safe, fun event for everyone to attend,” he said.

But some locals WGN News spoke with said they will not participate.

WGN News also attempted to speak to the founder of the Addison, Illinois-based 2nd Kentucky Cavalry but was not successful.

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