The nonprofit is updating its policy to prohibit political speech at the Yorktown Light Boat Parade and other events

YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) — Last holiday season, a Yorktown nonprofit came under fire after a committee selected a boat bearing political messages such as “Let’s go Brandon” and “FJB” as the winner of the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade.

Captain Bill Berger’s winning trophy for ‘Best in Show’ was removed in December after a complication arose: nonprofits such as the parade’s sponsor, the Yorktown Foundation, must refrain from participating to political discourse.

“Let’s Go Brandon” and “FJB,” both of which appeared on Berger’s boat under the lights, are phrases used to criticize President Joe Biden.

Nonprofit officials acknowledged that the Lighted Boat Committee dropped the ball by not disqualifying the political boat. Walt Akers of the Yorktown Foundation said they had not properly advised the lower groups on the rules.

On Tuesday, Akers sent 10 On Your Side an updated policy document for “appropriate messaging at sponsored events” by the Yorktown Foundation.

The first item on the list is “political discourse”, followed by “divisive rhetoric”.

The document reads: “As a 501(c)3 organization, The Yorktown Foundation and its subordinate groups are governed by IRS policies that limit our activities and speech. Additionally, since the actions of any sub-committee will ripple through the Yorktown Foundation as a whole, it is essential that our messages remain as consistent as possible. To that end, this policy statement provides a set of guidelines for our subordinate groups that detail what language can and cannot be associated with the Foundation.

Political parties and their members are allowed to participate, but it must be in an “apolitical manner”.

The document also states that hate speech, hate symbols, and other profane or inappropriate displays are prohibited from entry. Hate groups also cannot participate.

Click here to read the full document for the latest policy on events sponsored by the Yorktown Foundation.

About Jonathan J. Kramer

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