ATLANTIC BEACH, FL – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the City of Jacksonville would be removing Confederate monuments, which began with the dismantling of a statue in Hemming Park early this morning.
This action, while long overdue, is welcomed as a goodwill gesture from the city’s leadership. Calls for the removal of these statues and monuments have grown dramatically over recent years, and even more so since the tragic murder of George Floyd.
When asked what this means to the people of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, Donna Deegan said, “These symbols have caused much pain and suffering for our Black community. The presence of these monuments were a daily reminder of slavery and a very dark period in our nation’s history.” Deegan continued, “This is a good first step in restoring unity locally and across our country, but this decision needs to be followed with meaningful policy and budgetary changes that will address long standing racial inequities. It is time to make good on the promises of consolidation.”
Regarding next steps, Donna says, “There is still much to be done to address systemic racism, including the need to close the gap in income inequality, providing access to good, quality healthcare and economic opportunity for Black and Brown people in Northeast Florida, and reforming our criminal justice system which disproportionately impacts people of color.”
Deegan continues to welcome progress like the removal of Confederate monuments, but challenges local and national leaders to listen to our Black community and to implement measures that will promote equality for all citizens.