JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bad weather didn’t stop a protest in front of City Hall Friday morning by members of Take ‘Em Down Jax who are upset about a Confederate moment still standing in a Springfield park. That statue is likely to remain in place despite legislation introduced by Mayor Lenny Curry to have it removed.
The picketers from Take ‘Em Down Jax say it’s the City Council now creating the problem.
Three council committees voted this week to not pay $1.3 million to have the statue removed and it’s likely the full council will follow suit Tuesday night.
The council also learned this week that if the statue remains it will also remain covered because of past vandalism. The head of Take ‘Em Down Jax, Wells Todd, said that is troublesome as well.
“To keep it covered means there’s a real problem in Jacksonville. To keep it covered means there are more people who want to see it removed than to keep it up,” Todd said. ”It’s the City Council members who are perpetuating the racial divide in Jacksonville.”
Curry said people’s voices should be heard on the matter and he encourages people to call and reach out to members of the council if they have an opinion about the statue.
Curry was asked if he thought keeping the statue in place, even covered by a tarp, would lead to problems.
“Well I think the protests in Jacksonville have been largely peaceful,” Curry said. “We had an episode or two the summer of last year that JSO was able to quickly get under control.”
Other groups also weighed in Friday on the Confederate monument situation in Jacksonville.
The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a statement saying it’s not too late for the City Council to change its direction and vote to remove the statue (see full statement below).
The Northside Coalition, which has been very vocal in the debate, is now asking the Chamber of Commerce and the Civic Council to meet with them to discuss the issue.
In the past, the group said it plans to protest and possibly boycott businesses that don’t support the efforts to remove the monument.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“When Jacksonville’s full City Council convenes next week, they should vote to remove the Women of the Southland monument from public property. We ask that council members lead with thoughts of what’s best for the entire community instead of further protecting the ideology of white supremacy.
“Confederate symbols honoring traitors to the United States should never have been prominently placed in public spaces to begin with. Their presence is a daily reminder of the racial terror, oppression, and segregation Black people endured before, during, and after the Civil War was lost.
“Jacksonville’s leaders cannot and should not put a dollar amount on the pain and dehumanization symbols of white supremacy represent.”