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County seal task force garners nearly 750 community submissions

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Williamson County Seal

The Confederate flag in the Williamson County seal has sparked controversy among some members of the community.

The Williamson County Seal Task Force has already received nearly 750 submissions from locals sharing their opinions on whether or not the county seal should be changed.

Matt Largen, the president and CEO of Williamson, Inc., who is serving as the chairman of the task force, said the nine-member group held its first organizational meeting and is working on a schedule for future public meetings.

He said the submissions gathered concerning the seal will not be shared until at least Aug. 14, when the online form used to gather community feedback has closed.

Controversy around the seal arose a couple months ago when residents began emailing the Williamson County Board of Commissioners, asking for the removal of the Confederate flag pictured in the upper-left quadrant of the seal. An online petition created by a local advocate also gained traction in the community, receiving more than 11,000 signatures to date.

These actions were followed by residents also emailing their county commissioners, asking them to leave the seal as is. The community debate led to the formation of a community task force, which is charged with gathering public input and researching the community impacts of a seal alteration.

Once this task force reaches a conclusion, it will present its recommendation to the county commission at its Sept. 14 meeting. Should the commission decide an alteration to the seal is necessary, it will make a request of the Tennessee Historical Commission, which would have to grant two-thirds approval before the final vote circled back around to the county commission.

The members of the community task force led by chairman Largen include:

• Hewitt Sawyers, the pastor of West Harpeth Primitive Baptist Church and co-founder of the Fuller Story initiative in Franklin

• Emily Bowman, the granddaughter-in-law of historian Virginia Bowman, who designed the current Williamson County seal

• Paula Harris, a general member of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

• Inetta Gaines, a member of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County

• Lisa Campbell, the director of external affairs at Mars Petcare

• Chris Williamson, the pastor of Strong Tower Bible Church and co-founder of the Fuller Story initiative

• Ellie Westman Chin, the president and CEO of Visit Franklin, the Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau

• Rick Warwick, the Williamson County historian

To submit an opinion about the county seal to be considered by the task force, visit williamsonchamber.com/countyseal.

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