Today representatives of the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, the Northside Coalition and Take 'Em Down Jax gathered in the afternoon summer swelter at Confederate Park in Downtown Jacksonville. Their message was clear: Remove Confederate monuments and memorials from public lands.
The movement advocating removal of Jacksonville's Confederate monuments has been slowing gaining traction for some months; last weekend's rally in Charlottesville, Virginia-which claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when a car reportedly driven by a white supremacist rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters-has given it a new sense of momentum.
In response to the "horrific and unacceptable incidents" in Charlottesville, on Monday, Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche called for all Confederate monuments, memorials and markers on public property to be inventoried, then removed and relocated to museums and educational institutions.
In a media release, Brosche said, "It is important to never forget the history of our great city; and, these monuments, memorials, and markers represent a time in our history that caused pain to so many."
At today's press conference, Kristin Kiernan of Take 'Em Down Jax began by saying, "Today we must stand together. When equality is under attack, we have to fight back."
Kiernan expressed her dismay that racism is being learned by children at such a young age, and stated her desire for the community to "work together against hate and oppression." Only then, she said, could equality be achieved.
"It is not about a statue. It was never about a hot dog and a coke," Kiernan added, quoting activist Rodney L. Hurst, who was one of those beaten during the city's infamous Ax Handle Saturday in 1960, during which black activists attempting to dine at a Downtown Jacksonville lunch counter were bludgeoned by whites, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, some wielding ax handles.
Several, including Kiernan and Ben … More