Protesters rally against standing Confederate monuments during Jacksonville bicentennial celebration

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville’s 200th birthday is a call to action for some community members.

Take ‘em Down Jax and other organizations stood at City Hall and protested the Confederate monuments still standing in the city.

They held signs and chanted, calling for an end to white supremacy and begging city leaders to finally take down the rest of the monuments.

Protesters wielded signs reading “a racist city is not a bold city,” among others.

“We want the city to take a stand. We want the city to remove Confederate monuments,” Northside Coalition president and founder Ben Frazier said.

Saturday’s rally wasn’t like any others.

Protesters chose to gather in the light of Jacksonville’s bicentennial celebration.

Take ‘em Down Jax spokesperson Wells Todd believes holding such an event in the shadow of where a Confederate monument once stood at James Weldon Johnson Park is an endorsement of the Confederacy.

“They’re still endorsing what these statues were put up to represent, and that is the philosophy of white supremacy,” Todd said.

A column of that statue still stands in the park, along with the “Women of the Southern Confederacy” monument in Springfield Park, where it has stood since 1915.

A bystander in the crowd at Saturday’s rally said history should not be ‘erased’.

“You can’t deny or change history simply by changing a name and removing a statue. It doesn’t change the past, it doesn’t change what was done,” the bystander said.

In late May, the city council rejected a proposed straw ballot on the future of Confederate monuments in Jacksonville

The rally also focused on other issues, like the housing crisis and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

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