“We’re here to fight tyranny, period.”
Those were the words of Vincent Laquitara, one of dozens who showed up Saturday in Uptown Greenwood to protest face mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demonstrators lined the streets along the grassy median near the Uptown fountain and held signs with messages opposing ordinances requiring masks.
“I was looking to see if we could get some change out of some of the ordinances that have been put in place in the city,” Dustin Free said. “It doesn’t look like people are willing to budge on it, so we’re out here making an effort to get some of that stuff taken down.”
He said wearing a mask should be a matter of personal choice.
“I think any time you have local, state and federal governments involved with putting ordinances on people, it takes away their rights,” Free said. “It’s the wrong thing to do.”
Stacy Gray said the “breathe free” movement is what motivates him.
“That’s what I kind of stand on,” Gray said. “It’s my free right to choose. If people can say it’s my body, my choice to end life, then I should have the same right to say my body, my choice with putting something on my face or not.”
Gray also pointed to what he sees are logistical issues for him.
“I’ve got a big ol’ beard,” he said. “Any mask that I put on is not going to help me. You can ask OSHA. You can ask anybody else. To sit here and have my free rights of choice taken away, I don’t agree with that.”
So far, no one has pushed the issue with him, he said.
“I firmly believe, in my religion, it says that man is in the image of God, and men are not supposed to cover their faces,” Gray said. “That is denying the face of God.”
Kayla Kellett served for nine years overseas with the military. She said her freedom of choice is being “impressed upon.”
“If I can make a choice if I’m pregnant to kill a child, why can’t I make a choice to wear a mask or not?” Kellett said. “What’s the difference there other than murder? This is not the America I went overseas for. This is not the country I fought for.”