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Jacksonville fight to remove the Confederate statues continues

By Mike Todd |
September 2, 2017
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Jacksonville, FL - Around 200 people gathered for six hours at the August 22 city council meeting to speak about removing Confederate monuments and names from public spaces. The week before, in response to the white supremacist terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, Jacksonville City Council President Brosche said she wanted to inventory all Confederate monuments, markers, and memorials so they can be moved off public property and into museums or other settings, where they can be “historically contextualized.” When her press release went public, death threats started flooding into her email from Confederate sympathizers.

TakeEmDownJax has led the way in the fight to remove the Confederacy from Jacksonville, uniting multiple local groups , including the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, Veterans for Peace Jax, Young Workers of Jacksonville, and the Women’s March Jacksonville Chapter. The Tampa TakeEmDown coalition drove four hours to join the fight. This united effort was successful in outnumbering their opposition.

The arguments in support of keeping the monuments came from people repeatedly trying to convince everyone in the room they personally weren’t racist. One woman informed the council, “My daughter’s best friend is black, I’m not racist, but I am of my heritage and these monuments should stay.” This was easily refuted by point out what the white supremacists did in Charlottesville defending those monuments. 

Syd Eastwin let everyone know, “Just the fact that this is still something up for debate in the year 2017 by this city council, is a clear sign people care about dead racist statues more than Black lives.” The heated statements continued with the opposition involved until the last quarter of the night when the pro-Confederates were outnumbered byTakeEmDownJax’s supporters.

This united effort to remove the symbols of the Confederacy from public spaces continues to fight in the form of direct action events and call-in days to the mayor and city council members. The next open forum Jacksonville City Council meeting is on will address this issue Sept. 12.