Tonight the Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 11 in Milwaukee, Ryan Antczak, responded to our questions regarding an unauthorized Boy Scout patch depicting the iconic "immigrants fleeing" road sign image, which to has become a symbol of anti-immigrant scorn and hatred for many US Latinos.
First, Antczak was wanted to let us know that he does not condone the tweets were had gotten from @troop11eagle, who had asked if we were pedophiles and said other disparaging remarks. The Twitter account has since apologized for that remark by tweeting the following: "i am sorry for what i have said. im not a spokesperson for troop11. my emoisions got the better of me." We accept that apology. Antczak also said that he did not condone the email we got from a Troop 11 member who had told us to "go to hell" for running the story about the Boy Scouts of America statement. "I let them know to stop it on your website," Antczak told us.
Here is the email interview we had with Antczak:
LR: What is this patch used for?
Antczak: The patch is used to show what patrol [the scouts] are in.
LR: Who chose the iconic image of the family crossing the border?
Antczak: I wouldn't call it iconic. Its a street sign warning motorists of the possibility of people (illegal immigrants) running in front of cars.Its a street sign that goes 1,000 miles from California to Texas. The boys in the troop in 2002 chose this image. A patrol of half Mexicans. Throughout the years this [patch] has stood.Technically at anytime the name and image can be changed if brought up and won with a majority rule and the leadership's approval.
LR: Are you aware that this image can be seen as problematic and racist to some fellow Americans?
Antczak: No, I'm not aware this image of a street sign being "problematic" or "racist" to anyone. Please feel free to explain in detail so I know. [ED NOTE: We sent Antczak an original link from a San Diego article that depicted how this image became iconic and was supported by those who favored anti-immigration movements and seen by those who say the sign as a symbol of hate.]
LR: Why did the image get chosen?
Antczak: The image was chosen by mostly Latinos because they liked it. They chose it protest the image that Latinos support the very few that come into this country illegally. They didn't want to be associated with that. Everything has to change according to the Three Harbors Council here in Milwaukee immediately. Because of this one parent, it has to change or we will be wiped out. They will wipe the only active Boy Scout Troop in the Latino community. It's only 1 of 5 troops in America that's over 100 years old amongst tens of thousands of troops. Would we be open to changing the image? Yes.
LR: What will the troop be doing to fix the patch to ensure that it meets the approval of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)?
Antczak: BSA doesn't have a rule in regards to a standard with patrol names or images. They encourage creativity. BSA does have 15-20 versions of animal patrols and they have a blank patch to have the boys be creative in coming up with their own. Or you can come up with your own size patch. The patch/image has been on our sleeves for 10 years. All of us live on the Latino community and have shown it proudly everywhere we go. All we get is support. It shows that all of the Scouts and their families have supported this image and name for 10 years in the heart of the Latino community. The leadership in the Three Harbors Council has known for years about this patch. NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN SAID TO ME OR MY ASSISTANTS ABOUT THIS BEING "PROBLEMATIC"or "RACIST."