Filed on October 2, the anniversary of the first shots fired in the Texas War for Independence, a new lawsuit alleges discrimination by Alamo management against the First Amendment rights of the Alamo defenders’ descendants.
The suit, which was filed against Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Doug McDonald, the CEO of the Alamo Trust, claims that the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, an organization that for the past twenty years has held a candlelight prayer service inside the Alamo Chapel was denied permission earlier this year to hold their event inside the Alamo grounds.
“We have been wronged by the Alamo complex, the Alamo CEO, and General Land Commissioner George P. Bush,” said Lee White, the Chair of the ADDA in a press conference in front of the Alamo on Tuesday. “We have decided to draw the line today. Enough is enough and we’re tired of being targeted.”
The ceremony held inside the Alamo Chapel is notable for holding a roll call of those that died in the historic battle that paved the way for Texas independence.
The lawsuit states that, while the ADDA was denied use of the venue, a Native American group was allowed to continue using the chapel for their event. White suggested this apparent discrimination was grounded in her organization’s opposition to plans to renovate the Alamo site, and specifically proposals to move the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument to the Alamo defenders.
“They are opposed to how we feel about the Cenotaph. We want to keep the Alamo memorial right where it sits and not moved. And so therefore we are being targeted,” White continued.
McDonald, who took over as Alamo CEO during the summer of 2017, called the lawsuit “disappointing,” telling Texas Scorecard that the ADDA did indeed hold their ceremony on March 6, 2018, and that it included a time for memorial inside the church.
White conceded that they were ultimately allowed a short moment to walk through the chapel.
McDonald added that the Alamo managed all logistics and paid expenses related to hosting the event on the grounds.
The lawsuit also alleges that a woman wearing a “Don’t Move the Cenotaph” t-shirt was asked to leave the Alamo due to the “political” nature of her t-shirt, despite campaign gear being worn previously by the Beto O’Rourke campaign at the site.
In addition to seeking the restoration of the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights, the suit seeks a symbolic $18.36 in damages.