Yesterday, more than 1200 strong, Take Em Down NOLA’s second line celebration echoed through the streets of the French Quarter and Lee Circle. Well organized, with impressive unity of purpose, 1200 folks, Black, white and Latinx renewed a pledge to rid New Orleans of all symbols to white supremacy. All along the march route people cheered us on and many joined in!
The day before the Second Line we were called by the police chief asking us to cancel our event. We immediately, with full confidence, said NO!
We want to share our love and respect for all those who stood up to the threats which were meant to intimidate folks from attending.
What did this reveal? First, it showed the power of we the people to silence the fear mongers and racist terrorists when we collectively stand up to them. Most of their acts of violence are done when we are isolated or outnumbered. But when we rise together, oh what a mighty, unstoppable force we are!
Secondly, our action took the mask off Mayor Landrieu’s excuses for not proceeding rapidly, in daylight, with a public celebration to take down the monuments because of threats.
Take Em Down NOLA has always said that this was nonsense. That in fact it was the opposition of the racist white capitalist establishment in New Orleans, seeking to preserve white supremacy now who opposed this. They are afraid of a mass outpouring of the people in a new civil rights struggle.
The full-page ads taken out by Frank Stewart, largest funeral home owner in the US, in both The Advocate and Times Picayune was further proof of this as he chastised Landrieu. Landrieu immediately apologized to his conservative pal.
Take Em Down NOLA has always said our effort is a necessary part of the struggle for economic and social justice. That racist symbols are more about racism today, mass incarceration, poverty, unemployment, gentrification and low wages than past “lost causes.” We can only achieve our goal of collective liberation if we all support the efforts.
Take Em Down NOLAask you to please donate generously so that we can continue and grow.
Stay tuned to the next steps.
We the people of New Orleans demand that the Mayor and City Council take immediate action to remove all monuments, school names and street signs dedicated to White Supremacists. These structures litter our city with visual reminders of the horrid legacy of slavery that terrorized so many of this city's ancestors. They misrepresent our community. We demand the freedom to live in a city where we are not forced to pay taxes for the maintenance of public symbols that demean us and psychologically terrorize us. We demand:
That the city release a timeline for the immediate removal of the monuments;
That the city expand the definition from 4 specific monuments to encompass all monuments to White Supremacy;
That the city develop a community driven process for the removal of the monuments and the choosing of their replacements.