Remove the South's Defenders Monument in Lake Charles, LA

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Confederate soldiers are not "our heroes."

On the lawn of the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse in Lake Charles, La., looms a century-old memorial to those who fought and died not for the people of the South but for the institution of slavery. The people of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish once again voice their desire to destroy the statue and remove the memory of slavery from its literal and figurative pedestal within the community. We have faith that Lake Charles will not fall behind the rest of the nation as America commits itself to discouraging the veneration of those who fought to hold the South back in time. We call for the removal and destruction of this monument.

The statues do not educate the nation; they glorify defenders of slavery. These monuments do not teach about the horrors of the American Civil War, nor do they remind of us why the battles were fought. They simply cast a halo around those who died in a war that primarily sought to cement a place for slavery in our nation's future, and they do so under the guise of honoring the dead.

This monument brings no pride to Lake Charles. It brings no financial support, draws no tourism, and serves only to overlook the atrocities committed in the name of the Confederacy throughout history. The monument stands for a history of oppression for a community that makes up about half of Lake Charles' population, and it disgusts the allies who stand with them. Lake Charles is not represented by a bygone era of violence and slavery.

The South's Defenders Memorial Monument paints a picture of Confederate soldiers as innocent and patriotic, Southern "defenders" taken before their time. A young Confederate soldier looks proudly upon the courthouse lawn, and all who gather there stand beneath his feet. Descendants of the people the Confederacy fought to keep in slavery, of those the South sought to suppress through the pursuit of the states' ability to decide for themselves whether to continue to legalize crimes against humanity, stand in the shadow of the symbol of an evil and traitorous ideology. Even those of us whose ancestors fought on the wrong side in our nation's history are calling for the statue's destruction. We will not repeat the misdeeds of our past. We are dedicated to moving forward for all people. Clinging to reverence when it comes to the Confederacy holds us back. Remove and destroy the South's Defenders Memorial Monument in Lake Charles, La.