Florence protesters call for leaders to take down Confederate monument

Monday night, several people gathered outside the Lauderdale County Courthouse. They will continue to protest all week.

Posted: Jun 15, 2020 11:40 PM
Updated: Jun 16, 2020 7:49 AM

In Florence, protesters continue to call for city and county leaders to remove a Confederate statue outside the courthouse. 

"We have to continuously show up, let our voices be heard and demand what needs to happen, which means that monument needs to be relocated and removed as soon as possible," Organizer Camille Bennett said. 

Bennett said she has been trying to get city and council leaders to take action. However, last week during a commission meeting, certain commissioners refused to allow it to become an agenda item because of an Alabama law that protects monuments from being removed. 

"Right now, we're going through a political process that's completely unnecessary," Bennett said. "People are yielding to a law that's irrational, and inhumane, and incorrect, and we need to put the people first."

Breaking that law could subject a city or county to a fine of $25,000 for removing a monument. However, Bennett said the city of Florence has the budget for it.

For those who gathered around the statue Monday night, they said there is no justifying keeping what they describe as a symbol of oppression. 

"The civil war was about slavery. Slavery is what it is. It was an atrocity and a Holocaust for Black people," Bennett said. "It's just very simple. It's a no brainer. It just needs to go."

However, this is just one step in a movement for racial equality and justice.

"This is a minuscule ask. This is not the end," Bennett said. "We have policies to look at and different systems we need to correct, but this is the first step for our community."

Until action is taken, this group will continue to protest. So far, they have plans to be at the courthouse every night this work week.

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