Floridians Are Rising up to Tear Down Symbols of Oppression


Image via Associated Press

By Giselle Balido

June 11, 2020

Confederate memorials across the state are being removed by the city or county, which view these monuments as an affront to the dignity of Black and indigenous people.

Florida — One by one, the remnants of the grim legacy of the nation’s segregated South are tumbling down. On Monday the city of Jacksonville, Florida, removed a Confederate monument in Hemming Park, the downtown city plaza by City Hall and the Federal Courthouse. After the removal by crane of the Civil War marker, Mayor Lenny Curry said two other Confederate monuments in Duval County will be removed. The city has not yet decided where they will be placed or stored.

After the police brutality death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man killed in Minneapolis, confederate and Columbus monuments have been on the crosshairs of protesters across the country.

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Floridian activists and protesters have joined the fight too. Ben Frazier, a member of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, an organization focusing on the problems of social, racial, and economic injustice, issued a statement Monday night, after the statue’s removal:

“It’s not about the brick, the marble, the metal, or the stone; this has never been a fight about southern heritage. It’s really about Confederate heritage and there is a definitive difference between the two. Confederate heritage represents an ugly story of racial hatred, discrimination, social injustice, lynchings, and slavery. For the city to move forward into the light of a brand new day it must divorce itself from a history of inequality and a legacy of racial injustice.”

Turmoil in Miami

Things were not as peaceful in Miami, Florida, where on Wednesday protesters vandalized the Bayside Marketplace statue of Christopher Columbus, who some activists see as a symbol of colonization that brutalized indigenous communities in the Americas.

“That man literally has blood on his hands. Us putting the fist on his chest and the blood on his hands is symbolic,” one protester told the Miami Herald.

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Using surveillance cameras, police identified the seven unnamed perpetrators, who spray-painted a statue of Columbus and another of explorer and colonizer, Juan Ponce de León. The event took place outside of Bayside Marketplace, on Biscayne Blvd. Some officers were assaulted while trying to make the arrests and a police car was damaged.

The removal of confederate memorials has been celebrated by Black people and their allies in the fight for social justice, sparked after the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.



CATEGORIES: Florida | Local


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