HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —
Local groups are still calling for the confederate monument in front of Madison County Courthouse to be removed as cities across the country take similar steps. Thursday, Huntsville's youth will be marching for change.
Our Sydney Stallworth met up with organizers to talk about why they believe this statue needs to come down-- now.
We spoke with the founder of Essential Nonviolent Uprising Force (ENUF), who asked not to be identified. He says, “If they wanted it to be taken down, it could’ve been taken down. And yes, I believe they're just trying to shift responsibility because they simply don’t want it to be taken down.”
Just last week, Huntsville City Council voted to make space for the confederate monument at Maple Hill Cemetery. But, local groups say this statue doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
On June 10th, the Madison County Commission voted to seek permission to remove the Confederate statue outside the courthouse in downtown Huntsville.
The resolution was approved unanimously to seek a waiver from the state committee to move the statue. The county cited the 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which states a $25,000 fine must be paid for the unapproved removal of any monuments that are more than 40 years old.
So-- weeks later-- the statue still stands in front of the courthouse.
ENUF and other groups are still calling for the monument to be relocated immediately.
The Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance is continuing it's GoFundMe campaign to raise the $25,000 fine required by the law. The campaign is linked here.
The ENUF founder says, “We have already seen Birmingham take down a monument. We have already seen a monument in the heart of Tuscaloosa’s University of Alabama campus be taken down.”
Birmingham and Mobile removed Confederate monuments and paid the $25,000 fine.
As more cities and organizations nation-wide act to remove and relocate confederate symbols; groups are demanding that Huntsville and Madison County follow suit.
The ENUF founder adds, “If NASCAR and the Marines and the Navy can ban confederate symbols, If Mississippi can vote to take the confederate symbol-- the confederate flag out of their state flag… If all these things can happen state-wide, nation-wide… There’s really no reason for it to still be standing besides the fact that they just don’t want it to be taken down.”
We asked some locals passing by what they think.
We spoke to Laura Watson and Jaynne Matson. Watson says “I think it’s time to move the statue. I think just going to Maple Hill just makes a lot of sense.”
Thursday morning, the Valley’s young people will raise their voices for change in a march put on by the Rosa Parks Committee, Representative Laura Hall (District 19), and other groups. It's called the "Move the Monument" campaign.
The ENUF founder says, it’s imperative for young people to get involved-- and for us all to speak out, so they don’t have to face the same issues we face today. He adds, “We’re failing them as a generation if we let this go on. I don’t want to have to pass down my signs to my kids.”
Thursday's youth march hosted by the Rosa Parks Committee will kick off at 10:30 am. Participants will march from Big Spring Park to Madison County Courthouse. They will gather in front of the confederate monument and observe an 8 minute, 46 second moment of silence in honor of George Floyd.