NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — A brick promoting President Donald Trump's reelection in 2020 is causing controversy in Volusia County.
A woman bought the brick to be laid along Flagler Avenue in New Smyrna Beach, but she says it was removed.
Afien Casey, 80, paid $95 for the brick with the writing "Trump 2020, Drain Swamp, Brandon & OMA." Brandon is her 14-year-old grandson and Casey is known as OMA.
She's upset about the message being censored, and she said no one told her that the brick would be removed.
Personalized bricks are scattered along the sidewalk and this program has been around for 30 years.
The business owners said they have never known a brick to cause this much controversy and it all started with chatter on social media.
Casey said she doesn't want her money back, she wants her brick to be placed in its original spot.
"I bought the brick a year ago," Casey said. "Of course, I'm older and I'm not going to be here forever, so when he is really growing up and gets in his 20's he can always go back to Flagler Avenue and say this is what OMA and I did."
Right before Hurricane Dorian, her brick disappeared.
"Somebody was told to turn the brick over because it was offensive to people," said Casey's daughter Donna Lee. She managed to get the brick back after a contractor removed it.
"How many times do I walk by something that I don't like am I gonna complain about it? No, I just look the other way and say, ‘Well I 'm not gonna walk there again,'" Casey said. "They are just stirring the pot."
On the Flagler Avenue Business Association website, where the bricks can be bought, there are no guidelines, only cost and sample bricks.
"I came here because this was a country, of the free and the brave," Casey said. "It doesn't seem like we are free anymore and if we don't speak up against this bullying, so to speak, we're not brave anymore either."
The Flagler Avenue Business Association sent a statement which reads in part, "At the next meeting, we will discuss guidelines for brick messages which will be in concert with community stakeholders along with already established guidelines from other downtown districts with similar programs."
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