Middletown Mayor announces changes to annual parade after outcry over controversial float

The mayor of Middletown announced big changes for their annual Hummer's Parade, after a float in the 2019 parade sparked outrage on social media.

READ MORE: Del. parade under fire after float depicts 'border detention center,' child in cage

Dozens packed town hall for the council meeting on Monday night to protest the parade.

Some held signs saying "Build Kindness Not Walls" and "White Silence=Violence."

Pictures circulated on social media last week showing a parade float with the sign "Border Detention Center," with a nearly naked adult in a cage and a child, in a cowboy hat, in another cage.

Before speakers approached the podium on Monday night, including representatives with the Delaware Hispanic Commission, Mayor Kenneth Branner said he understood the outcry.

"There were some entries that were offensive and totally inappropriate and these actions are now going to be addressed for any future gatherings," he said.

Mayor Branner said each councilmember will have the opportunity to appoint one person for a group that will make guidelines for the Hummer's Parade.

The guidelines will come back to council before they become official.

He said they will not distribute any permits for next year's parade until those guidelines are set in stone.

In the past, the parades did not involve any organization. Participants who wanted to be a part of the parade could just simply show up.

"When I say we're going to do something, we do it," Mayor Branner said.

While Monday's discussion was the first of several regarding the parade, many seemed hopeful that the mayor responded with a plan.

"Let's give him the benefit of the doubt," said Kerri Harris, a former U.S. Senate candidate and community advocate who helped organize Monday's rally.

She added that the parade had a history of insensitive floats, and this shows why it is so important to speak up.

Fox 29 talked to several longtime parade participants who did not want to be interviewed or quoted.

One man said the parade was always meant to be fun and people are "just too sensitive."