Civil rights demonstrators wants Jaguars, NFL to join Confederate monument removal effort

(WJXT 2021)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, the most outspoken civil rights organization in the River City, is renewing its push to bring down a Confederate monument that sits in Springfield Park.

Led by organization president Ben Frazier, the Northside Coalition held a protest Sunday at the intersection of East Union and North Main Streets targeting Jaguars fans heading to the game.

The organization not only wants the Jacksonville Jaguars and Shad Khan to join their cause but also NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell himself.

“We want (the Jaguars) to run the ball, score a touchdown, and win the game against the racism that these confederate monuments represent.” Frazier said at the Sunday demonstration.

More than a dozen protesters were in attendance, holding signs, protesting The Women of the Southern Confederacy Monument and the city’s unwillingness to remove it, despite Mayor Lenny Curry promising in June 2020 all monuments to the Confederacy in Jacksonville would be taken down.

“These monuments represent white supremacy and racism, they must be removed from public property.” Frazier told News4JAX.

The Northside Coalition spent weeks, from September to November calling for action-- that included several demonstrations inside city hall.

Possibly, as a result, a sign was posted outside City Hall warning people not to enter offices without permission. Law experts questioned whether that was legal to enforce. The mayor’s office denied News4JAX’s then-request for comment.

The cause lost steam after City Hall refused to vote on the removal funding in mid-November (The vote was 12-6.) Legislation to remove the monument could have been reintroduced at any time, but Mayor Curry, who submitted the initial removal proposal, has not yet.

However, the latest action by Frazier may push the issue back into headlines and, more importantly, onto City Council’s agenda.

Critics of the removal said the monument represents part of Jacksonville’s history and would be too expensive to relocate, saying $1.3 million could be better spent.

RELATED: Cost of removing Confederate monument from Springfield park draws mixed reactions

Opposition commentator Seber Newsome III of Yulee told News4JAX in October he would like to see the $1.3 million go to programs that are working to reduce crime, drugs, and/or homelessness.