Charges dropped for Jacksonville activist after arrest at city council meeting
Four months after the President of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville was arrested and charged with trespassing and resisting arrest after a city council meeting in December, it was announced Monday that the charges were dropped.
Jacksonville City Council votes to withdraw Confederate monument removal bill
Following hours of public comment and discussion, the Jacksonville City Council voted at its meeting Tuesday evening to withdraw an ordinance to spend $1.3 million to remove a Confederate moment that sits in Springfield Park.
Protesters slam City Council over upcoming Confederate monument vote
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.
City’s remaining Confederate monuments take spotlight in public comment during Council meeting
For weeks, the Northside Collation of Jacksonville has been pressing the city follow through with the removal of all remaining Confederate monuments, and on Tuesday, the organization held another rally outside City Hall.
Impact of Derek Chauvin’s conviction; Jacksonville’s infrastructure needs & proposed gas tax increase
On this edition of “This Week in Jacksonville,” Northside Coalition President Ben Frazier and Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona each discuss the impact of the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin verdict. Then Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney joins the show as Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nat Ford and Jacksonville Civil Council Chairman John Delaney each discuss the city’s infrastructure needs and the proposed gas tax increase.
As school name change debate continues, group rallies outside DCPS building
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Demonstrators gathered outside the Duval County School Board building Tuesday evening as the debate over whether to rename nine schools continues. The name change meetings are over so these rallies will happen every Tuesday. During a meeting of Jefferson Davis Middle School’s advisory board Tuesday evening, eight members of the board submitted votes. Four were in favor of renaming the school Westside Middle School, the other four were for calling it Charger Academy. LINK: Duval County Public Schools’ ‘school name change tracker’By May 12, DCPS says, ballots will be made available for constituents to vote on a preferred name.
Changing name of Robert E. Lee High takes spotlight at community meeting
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition and other members of the Jacksonville community gathered Monday afternoon ahead of a meeting, rallying for a name change at Robert E. Lee High School. pic.twitter.com/D7DATGJe60 — Brie Isom (@BrieIsomWJXT) March 15, 2021Some of the names suggested during the Monday meeting included Avondale High School or Riverside High School. There’s a group of alumni from Lee High School are pushing to keep the school’s name, saying that Lee High has too much history to be renamed. It’s about Southern pride,” Lee High School alumnus Joey Steves said previously. Jackson High, Ribault High, and Ribault Middle schools were added to the list in early August.
DCPS holds first public meeting on renaming Lee High School
Four schools had meetings Wednesday, including Lee High School, where demonstrators gathered ahead of the 6 p.m. discussion. “Stop Playing games change the names” is what a group of protesters are chanting outside Lee High School. News4Jax spoke with Mykyla Hooper, who was named Miss Lee High School. AdLeon Barrett, a former coach and player at the high school, says it’s history that shouldn’t be erased. ”The money will drop out from the alumni and I’d hate to see that happen.”Also at the school was the group Save the School Names.
DCPS hosting more meetings on renaming some public schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools is hosting another in series of community meetings over renaming Robert E. Lee High School, Stonewall Jackson and Joseph Finegan Elementary School, and Jefferson Davis Middle School. At least one organized group, Save The School Names, plans to attend the meeting and advocate for keeping Robert E. Lee the name of the high school. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Save The School Names would protest outside. The district is following a step-by-step process, as follows:The first step which is on-going, schools considering a name change are holding community meetings to gather feedback. The advisory committee creates a list of possible names for the school community to vote on.
Activist has concerns over councilwoman’s proposal to restrict large outdoor gatherings
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local activist is sharing his concerns over a Jacksonville City Council member’s proposal to add restrictions for unlawful gatherings. Ben Fraizer with the Northside Coalition feels it could lead to discrimination and unnecessary arrests in the Black community. Pittman is now proposing adding restrictions for unlawful gatherings to an anti-loitering law that has been in place since 1970. We need to get together all the shareholders, the public sector, the private sector and the community itself. Pittman said there is a public notice meeting where the proposal will be discussed on Oct. 28 at 4 p.m.
Grassroots groups want City Council to reject JSO budget, re-allocate funds
“The major problems involve racial issues, the city budget and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”The activists want more oversight from the City Council of JSO’s budget spending. “The city council should establish new methods to evaluate how effectively JSO is spending the lion’s share of our city funds,” said Ben Frazier, founder of the Northside Coalition. The city has broken promises and ignored the needs of Black neighborhoods for more than 50 years.”In addition to that demand, the groups say the City Council should:Create a police accountability council to review police investigations. “The People’s Budget calls on the city to reallocate and reinvest money from the proposed half-billion dollar budget for JSO,” said Christina Kittle with the JCAC. That budget will be voted on by City Council before the end of the month.
Drive-in rally protests racial injustice, demands police reforms
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. About 200 activists and supporters gathered Saturday afternoon in the large grass field near the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office headquarters to protest racial injustice and demand police reform. Organizers said their demands cover concerns about law enforcement and the criminal justice system as well as racial and economic issues. The protest was a drive-in rally to allow for social distancing, and hundreds of protesters, most wearing masks, gathered to voice their concerns. The drive-in protest was spearheaded by the JCAC and the Northside Coalition. (WJXT)The recurring racial attacks by police officers prove theres a pressing need for police reforms, JCAC spokesman Michael Sampson said.
Jacksonvilles violent crime problem raises budget questions
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Several consecutive nights of violent crime in Jacksonville have some asking questions about what is and isnt working to combat the citys crime problem. Ben Frazier, a community activist and president of the Northside Coalition advocacy group, doesnt think the citys current approach to reining in violent crime is working. The citys effort to reduce gun violence needs creative leadership and a good swift kick in the budget, Frazier said Friday. He said some of the funding allocated for the Sheriffs Office, which represents a significant chunk of the city budget, should be shifted to other programs. Sheriff Mike Williams addressed some of those issues Thursday when he met with City Council members to discuss the city budget.
Demonstrators at drive-up protest demand peoples budget & police accountability
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Northside Coalition and the Jacksonville Community Action Committee are demanding a city budget for the people and police accountability. On Saturday, there was a drive-up protest, with cars filling the parking lot across the street from the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office headquarters. People painted Peoples budget now on car windows and held signs saying So no to JSO budget.Ben Frazier with the Northside Coalition called the proposed budget weak and said it lacks the strength needed to revitalize underserved and marginalized communities. Consider this: By reallocating the JSO money proposed by the mayor by about 25% would actually free up $100 million. We want to see that money used for social and community services like a comprehensive mental health care response team.
Community group calls for defunding JSO
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Northside Coalition, a local community advocacy organization, is calling for Mayor Lenny Curry to defund the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office. The call comes after Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams last week asked for $6 million more in the JSO budget. RELATED: Activists react after JSO asks for $500M in fundingBen Frazier, of the Northside Coalition, said the current JSO budget is massively overweight, inflated and ineffective. He said money allocated to JSO should be reinvested to fund community service and resources. The City Council, the mayor and the sheriff should redirect the public safety budget to be more focused on prevention and intervention, Frazier said. All communities should address poverty, education and infrastructure but taking money from public safety to accomplish this goal is a fast track to a less safe city, the statement reads, in part.
Local activist calls for names of confederate generals to be removed from Duval County schools
A local activist is demanding that the Duval County Public Schools remove the names of confederate generals from all public schools in the district. Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition said the names of prominent confederates should be removed and new names should be established based on feedback from the public. Northside Coalition requests for name changes are being made in conjunction with established Duval County school board policy," Frazier said in a statement. "That policy clearly states that A request to change a schools name can come from students, parents, alumni, or the community serving that school.Frazier said that one of the major goals of the confederacy was to keep and perpetuate slavery, and listed Robert E. Lee High School, J.E.B Middle School, Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, Joseph Finegan Elementary School and Jefferson Davis Middle School as schools that should remove names. The Duval County Public Schools board states that the superintendent or any school board member can submit a written request to the school board to change a name and that community input is desired and highly valued, but the board has final authority over the name of any school.
Protesting, race relations in Jacksonville; Where JEA probe stands; Possible hurdles for prosecutors in George Floyds death
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. On this edition of This Week in Jacksonville, Ben Frazier, of the Northside Coalition, talks about dealing with race-related issues. Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond explains where the JEA investigation stands. And former prosecutor and Jacksonville Universitys Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney breaks down the case against the former officers charged in the death of George Floyd.
Jacksonville faith leaders kneel for 8 minutes 46 seconds to honor George Floyd
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Faith leaders in Jacksonville gathered Wednesday on the steps of the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office to call for justice and peace after the death of George Floyd. During what they called a prayer conference, the leaders of several faiths leaders kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time video shows a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on Floyds neck on Memorial Day. Ben Frazier with the Northside Coalition, with the Northside Coalition that organized Saturdays peaceful rally in Jacksonville that was followed by vandalism and attacks on police, joined the faith leaders. Frazier also called for an honest dialogue with city leaders, including the mayor, sheriff and State Attorneys Office. We have a great racial divide in this city and people are looking the other way, Frazier said.
After 92 murders so far this year; community promotes peace
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dozens came together at Lonnie Miller Park in Jacksonville Sunday for a peace festival hosted by the Northside Coalition. The goal is to reduce violence and promote peace in their... Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.
After 92 murders so far this year; community promotes peace
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dozens came together at Lonnie Miller Park in Jacksonville Sunday for a peace festival hosted by the Northside Coalition. The goal is to reduce violence and promote peace in their neighborhoods. The first event like this one was held in 1973, and the Northside Coalition has resurrected it to challenge the norm of gun violence in the city. The peace festival comes just days after the Mayor gave an update on efforts to curve murders in Jacksonville. Frazier said the purpose was for all people to come together for one purpose to celebrate peace in the city.