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Jacksonville activists say remove confederate names and statues from public view

Face down reactionaries with ‘blue lives matter’ confederate flags
By Mike Todd |
August 4, 2017
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Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville downtown Art Walk celebration on August 2 brought out several political organizations including TakeEmDownJax, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) and Veterans for Peace. The groups petitioned and leafleted for the causes of removing confederate names and statues from public view and for community control of the police via the formation of a Jacksonville Police Accountability Council. Around 50 local organizers showed up and were met by two groups in opposition, who were confederate flag supporters and self-proclaimed ‘patriots.’

The local authorities kept the opposition at bay until TakeEmDownJAX held a press conference in a local book store. Several powerful speeches were recorded by the local news media. Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition asked, in reference to the monuments to confederate soldiers scattered around Jacksonville, "What about a memorial for the Blacks who were lynched? Florida was the lynching capital of the U.S. It happened so much it's a part of southern history. Across the street outside at Hemming Park, where the reactionaries are huddled with their ‘blue lives matter’ confederate flags, was the same location of Axe Handle Saturday." Meanwhile the opposition could be heard outside marching and shouting "USA, USA, USA."

The fight to keep the confederate names and monuments in place is cloaked in support for veterans. One local organizer, Etta Ettlinger, stood in front of the Veterans for Peace tent and said, "I walked by their group on the way to the press conference and was told if I don't support their cause I don't support veterans. So apparently these people are under the impression confederates who wished to secede and preserve slavery are United States veterans." This is only one of the backwards, reactionary tactics used by the confederate flag supporters and Southern history apologists to try and win support for their racist views.

Activists with TakeEmDownJax vowed to continue to organize and take down the racist confederate statues in Jacksonville. Support for the campaign continues to grow in Jacksonville.