Protestors to urge commissioners' removal of confederate monument in Bradenton

Black Lives Matter, other groups organize protest
Posted at 11:26 PM, Aug 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-20 23:26:50-04

Another confederate monument is taking a hit. This time in Bradenton. Hundreds of protestors expected to take over the town tomorrow. They will march half a mile from the Riverfront Park to the courthouse. Their purpose is to urge commissioners to vote for the removal of a nearly 100-year-old confederate monument. They want it gone from public places.

All across the nation there's a growing movement to remove confederate monuments. The controversy comes on the heels of violence in Charlottesville where white nationalists and neo-nazis claim they organized in protest of the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. The day instead ended in the death of a counter-protester and the wounding of dozens others.

“War criminals shouldn’t receive participation trophies or statues," said Shakira Refos with Black Lives Matter Manasota, "We don’t admire these people."

Shakira Refos organized tomorrow’s peaceful march. Refos is asking county leaders to put it all to a vote much like Hillsborough County did with its own court-house statue. She believes these monuments belong in a museum and not in a public area.

“It’s a slippery slope though, you take one statue down and it’s going to go down the line. So where do you stop?” asked Daniel McGrath, who is against the relocation of the monument. He fears the long-reaching impact of removing it.

Likewise, a spokesman for Save Southern Heritage, an association dedicated to "preserving and promoting the history of the south," tells ABC Action News that "fair-minded Floridians think it’s ludicrous to think an inanimate piece of stone is racist.”

“I understand people hold it dear to their hearts I get that," said Moody Tamer who lives in Bradenton, "It means different things to different people but this is a war that happened 150 years ago.”

Just over the weekend, commissioners voted to board it up in fear of vandalism like we saw around the nation and even right here in Tampa. Earlier this month, vandals poured red paint across monuments at Confederate Memorial Park in Seffner.

Those against the monument’s removal keep repeating one word. History.

“Create conversation with families and when children walk by they ask what that is and that’s how children learn heritage," said McGrath.

“I don’t think we are arguing that this is not a piece of history, we completely understand that this is a piece of history that deserves context, education and deserves to be talked about," said Refos, "We don’t need to be confronted with it in our public spaces.”

The march starts Monday August 21st at 6:30 p.m.