Jacksonville protests Confederate monuments, demands “Take ‘em down”
Jacksonville, FL – On Jan. 29, over 250 people came out to Hemming Plaza in Downtown Jacksonville to demand that Confederate monuments honoring white supremacists and slave holders be taken down and the renaming of schools named after Confederate generals.
Currently in Jacksonville there exists Confederate Park, a statue in Hemming Park honoring Confederate soldiers and public schools named after Confederate generals – Robert E. Lee High School, Kirby Smith Middle School, Jefferson Davis Middle School and J.E.B Stuart Middle School. There are also bridges named after KKK members and white supremacists such as the Fuller Warren Bridge and the Isaiah Hart Bridge.
The rally, organized by Occupy Jax and Take Em Down, featured speakers from various organizations and clergy who came out to demand these monuments be removed from public spaces and to demand an end to white supremacy in Jacksonville.
Protesters chanted, “We’re fired up, we can’t take it no more,” and “Take ‘em down, take ‘em down, we don’t want no racist statues in our town, take ‘em down.”
“History is not reserved for the idol worship of genocidal slave holders,” said Monique Sampson of University of North Florida SDS and the Jacksonville Community Action committee. “Whether you’re fighting to take monuments down, whether you’re fighting against police brutality, fighting against Nazis at UNF or fighting to get Justice for Keegan Roberts or Maurice Hobbs, we must all stand together.”
The large crowd was met with fewer than 15 pro-white supremacist Confederacy counter protesters who were largely drowned out by the much larger and louder crowd calling to take the statues down. There was a heavy police prescience on hand with at least 100 officers around the vicinity of Hemming Plaza blocking off streets.
“This isn’t about a statue or a park or a name of a building, this is a moral issue. This is about the glorification and normalization of white supremacy,” said Haneen Ali, speaking on behalf of the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network. “This is about white supremacy that stretches from Hemming Park to Israel.”
Protesters vowed to keep protesting and putting pressure on local politicians until the statues are taken down.