Rising opposition to Confederate Veterans' Memorial, Commissioners who voted to keep it

Commissioners voted 4-to-3 to keep statue
Posted at 1:44 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 17:21:08-04

"It's time for a change. It's time for a new generation,” said Phyllis Lewis of Tampa.

Strong opposition is rising after a controversial vote to keep a Confederate memorial standing in downtown Tampa.

Leaders from the faith community as well as elected officials and protestors called for the immediate removal of the Confederate veterans' statue which stands on private property at the old Hillsborough County court house.

"I think it reflects the wrong values of what Tampa is all about. We are a city of pluralism and diversity," said Tampa City Council Member Luis Viera.

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Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 4-to-3 to keep the statue last week.

Commissioners Sandra Murman, Stacey White, Victor Crist and Ken Hagan voted to keep it in place but also to build a diversity memorial behind it.

"We certainly can bring this back again and consider moving this to a more appropriate place,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Patricia Kemp.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller tells ABC Action News he will bring the issue back up in a public meeting.

The Confederate veterans’ memorial, built in 1911, was relocated to Pierce Street in the 1950's.

"Move it over there to Oaklawn Cemetery where you have whites and blacks and Confederates and whoever,” said Chloe Coney of Tampa.

Local pastor Reverend James T. Golden says the monument represents racism and oppression.

"This isn't about history. This isn't about politics. This isn't about what went on in the past. This is about the direction in which Tampa is headed,” Reverend Golden, Mt. Zion AME Church.

The issue could be brought up again by a county commissioner when meetings resume on July 19th.

"We'll have to see if there is a change of heart about that,” said Kemp.

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