A Suffolk, Virginia man is prepared to go to jail to defend his southern heritage, which he expresses with a Confederate flag license plate.
“I’m not giving up my heritage rights for nothing,” Kevin Collier told WTKR.
Collier is proud of the Confederate flag emblem on his Son of Confederate Veterans memorial license plate, and he refuses to remove it despite a law approved last year that required residents to replace the plate before October 4, 2015.
“I’m not taking it off and I won’t take it off,” he said, according to WTVR.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said that eliminating the Confederate flag plate “was the right thing for Virginia” when he approved the move last July, but Collier vehemently disagrees.
“It ain’t racist … its heritage not hate. I don’t know what people don’t get about that,” Collier said. “It wasn’t about hate, it was a battle flag, a battle flag that we fought for.”
“It had nothing to do with hate, and nothing to do with racism,” he said.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles mailed out 1,600 new plates to replace the Sons of Confederate Veterans plates last September, and it’s a second degree misdemeanor with up to a $1,000 fine for using the inactive plate, but Collier couldn’t care less.
“They put me in jail, I’ll go to jail. I will stick to my guns,” he said. “If they come and take the truck, they’re just gonna have to come take me strapped in it. To me that plate is part of my heritage. My ancestors fought on the battlefield for that and I got documentation to prove it.”
A Virginia DMV statement to WTKR contends “customers have mailed back about 205 sets of the old plates; however, some customers returned their plates at a customer service center and we do not have a count for those returned sets.
“While we had asked that the old design of the plates be returned for recycling, our primary concern is making sure inactive plates are not on the road,” the statement read. “It is against the law to operate a vehicle with a canceled license plate.”
Collier told the news site he’s already received several tickets in different cities for his Confederate flag plate, but he’s determined to keep it in place by any means necessary.
“I was born 150 years too late because I would have loved to have fought for the Confederacy like my ancestors did, but at least I can fight how I can in modern times,” he said. “I will fight however I can.”