JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group in favor of keeping Confederate monuments in Jacksonville took to the steps of City Hall on Friday to offer a proposal to keep the current statues and add others to honor all cultures.
The group, which calls itself the Citizens for Unity, has an idea to rename Springfield Park, where a Confederate monument still sits covered, and call it Unity Park. It would become the centerpiece of what would be called the Civil Rights Heritage Trail, where all races would be honored. The group would also like to see the city return the Confederate soldier monument that was taken down almost a year and a half ago.
“Bring that statue back along with the four plaques that go around it. Put up a statue to James Weldon Johnson in the same park that shows we can all respect each other’s past culture. We can all live together in peace. We don’t want to tear down. We want to build up people,” said Seber Newsome III, with Citizens for Unity.
The group has sent their idea to Mayor Lenny Curry and Jacksonville City Council members and said it has not had a response.
News4Jax checked in with the Northside Coalition, which has been opposed to the statues and takes issue with the Citizens for Unity. The Northside Coalition said that it has been proposing all sides sit down and talk about the next steps and that it is still willing to do so.
News4Jax also checked with the mayor’s office to see if it had a response and has not heard back.
The Citizens for Unity’s news conference comes after the City Council voted not to fund the removal of the Confederate monument in Springfield Park. The City Council is making the future of Confederate monuments a priority within the coming year.