#TakeEmDownJax is dedicated to removing symbols of white supremacy from Jacksonville, FL
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Occupy Jacksonville, in solidarity with the movement in New Orleans to remove local symbols that uphold white supremacy and the Neo-Confederacy, announces the launch of #TakeEmDownJax.
We the 99% are committed to creating unity among the 99%. Monuments honoring an oppressive past and a fallen Confederacy only serve to divide. Now more than ever, we must unify to abolish any symbolism that has been used against us to divide, oppress, and exploit. To this end, we the people of Jacksonville demand that the monuments erected to honor the Confederacy be removed from all public parks in our city, including but not limited to Confederate Park and Hemming Plaza. We also demand that the name of Confederate Park be changed to a new name selected by residents of the surrounding neighborhood.
These monuments are the relicts of an ugly history of whitewashing the Confederacy after its defeat in 1865. Neo-Confederates developed the myth of the “Lost Cause” and talked about secession in terms of “states’ rights” to suppress the truth that the South had only risen to preserve slavery. From the 1890s to the 1950s, monuments commemorating this false image of the Confederacy were placed in our parks, the names of former slaveowners and soldiers who fought for a constitution that enshrined slavery as a fundamental right and made inequality permanent were emblazoned upon our schools. Celebrating such exploitation and racism is a continuous affront to civil rights and human dignity. They belong in a museum, not in the public square.
We the 99% also do not believe that students can enjoy a truly inclusive and productive learning environment when their schools are named after known white supremacists. It is divisive to the student body and oppressive to students of color. Three of these schools' names were changed to honor Confederates in response to the desegregation of schools in the 1950s as a tactic to uphold white supremacy. So we demand that the names of Robert E. Lee HS, Jefferson Davis Middle School, Kirby Smith Middle School, and J.E.B. Stewart Middle School be changed to names selected by the students and their families.
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