JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of people gathered at Hemming Park on Saturday to speak out and urge lawmakers to take down confederate statues in and around Jacksonville.
They said the statues represent racism and slavery, a message they said has no place in our society today.
"It's not about metal. It's not about brass. Its not about marble. Its really about what these monuments represent. And they represent racial hatred. They represent racism. They represent white supremacy. They represent black oppression and that's why they must be removed," said Ben Frazier, Founder of Northside Coalition of Jacksonville.
About a dozen counterprotesters waving Confederate flags said the statutes and monuments are part of our nation's history and should remain standing.
"We're out here to defend our southern heritage and our ancestors. This group over here out telling lies about the history of the monument, probably saying its about white supremacy and slavery. It's not. All you have to do is read what's on the plaque. It tells you why the plaque was put there, to the soldiers of Florida," said Sebernew Some III.
Dozens of people met in Hemming Park as Frazier and others walked during a Take 'Em Down march through downtown, and peacekeepers looked on.
"This is an educational event to do a walking history tour of the confederate monuments here in Jacksonville," said Karen Morian, of Jacksonville Peace Keepers. "The Peace Keepers are trained in deescalation and nonviolence in order to make sure everyone has a safe and successful event."
It's a reminder that past rallies about Confederate monuments have turned violent and deadly.
Groups have rallied to have Confederate monuments removed in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.