ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Standing in strength.
Hundreds of people in St. Augustine marched to the Plaza de la Constitucion on Sunday for a protest.
It started as a silent march that began in front of St. Paul AME Church on Martin Luther King Avenue.
Once they gathered there, things got a bit more vocal specifically about the Confederate monument in the Plaza.
Hundreds were in the streets holding signs and calling for change.
A protest happening now in St. Augustine. Organizers discussing plans for confederate monuments in the city. pic.twitter.com/Q29iD61mTH— Marilyn Parker (@MarilynParkerTV) June 14, 2020
“You see that monument you are looking at there. Every name on that monument fight to keep my people enslaved. Every name on that monument gave their life to keep me in bondage,” said one speaker.
Confederate monuments have come down recently in other cities. Some protesters say they hope the same thing happens in St. Augustine.
“It is hate. The rebel flag and the monuments all need to come down,” said protester Mimi Parker. “Enough is enough. These people need to put down their anger and they need to treat people like human beings.”
Another protester who spoke with News4Jax said the marching in the silence was a symbol of unity and something they say they were proud to be apart of.
Some of the speakers were encouraging participants to put pressure on city officials to bring it down. Many of them said that this is something they will no longer tolerate in their city.
We’ve seen some cities do just that, though not everyone agrees.
“These people are calling confederates traders, that’s a lie too,” said Jamie Parham, who is against the call for the monuments to come down.
The police asked him and another man to stand on the sidewalk until the protest was over.
They watched as protesters called out the statues.
“You see that monument you looking at there? Every name on that monument fight to keep my people enslaved. Every name on that monument gave their life to keep me in bondage,” said a speaker at the demonstration.
Prahm said that’s not what the monument is about.
“All the names on that memorial are people who died in their bodies were not returned. They are local Saint Augustine people. They did not fight for slavery. They fought for their state and they fought for their city,” Prahm said.
Parker said she believes the statues keep the country divided.
“The confederate symbols were put up in the 30s and the 40s to intimidate black folk. That was the message, that’s why they did it. It was not to honor any of these people,” said Parker.
Though there are currently no plans for the monument to come down, some protesters said they’ll continue to fight for that to happen.