About one hundred people gathered in front of a controversial Confederate monument in downtown Tampa on July 17, asking county commissioners again to take it down.

  • Commissioners voted to keep statue in place in June
  • Supporters insist moving statue equivalent to erasing history
  • Opponents assert statue doesn't "fit" in downtown Tampa

In June, commissioners voted to keep the statue in front of the old county courthouse in place, but another vote is scheduled for Wednesday.

"It is a symbol that does not represent justice for everyone in this country and it was erected at a time when not everyone had a voice or a vote for it," said Majda Rahmanovic, who opposes the monument. "Therefore, we should really move it to an appropriate place."

Commissioner Victor Crist has been working to find another place for the statue, possibly in a private cemetery.

Supporters insist it honors Confederate veterans, and moving the statue would be tatamount to erasing history.

Opponents counter with the argument that the statue doesn't "fit" in downtown Tampa, saying the monument represents oppression and a time when slavery was acceptable.

"This is something the nation is looking at -- do we have the simple human decency, not even the moral courage, just simple human decency to say 'That's not a symbol of our town?'" said Rev. Russell Meyer, with the Florida Council of Churches.

Another rally calling for the removal of the statue will take place Tuesday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m. There, county commissioners and city council members will make their case for why the statue should be moved to private property.

"I think we all know racism is wrong," said resident Mike Reed. "I think we all know slavery is wrong. My grandmother, my family, my friends shouldn't have to see this kind of racist rhetoric, this monument to racism here in our town."

Photo: Laurie Davison