Tonight, The MTC or the Monumental Task Committee will be meeting to discuss why they believe that the White Supremacist monuments around the city should not be removed but instead preserved because they represent New Orleans history. They claim that the monuments represent heritage and not racism and hatred. We the members of the Take 'Em Down NOLA Coalition say that the truth flies in the face of this hypocrisy.
First of all, of the 4 monuments that Mayor Landrieu has recommended for removal, 2 of them represent men (Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, the general and president of the Confederacy respectively) who were neither native New Orleanians nor primary residents of our city, much less significant contributors to our culture. Another is to PGT Beauragard, an official in the Confederate Army that fought to defend the Southern order of white supremacy and black enslavement. This is no legacy that any resident of New Orleans, or the South or America for that matter, should be proud of. Finally, the monument that most accurately represents New Orleans history, the Liberty Monument, represents an act so despicable (the murder of 11 police officers--both black and white--by the Crescent White League in 1874) that the city ought to be ashamed of its very existence.
The Take 'Em Down NOLA Coalition argues that monuments constructed by white supremacists in commemoration of white supremacy cannot possibly represent anything other than the most blatant and obvious form of hatred. There is no way to advocate for the oppression and enslavement of a people and not simultaneously create and spread hatred within oneself and directly towards the people one deems inferior. Until the philosophy that holds one race superior over another is done away with there will always be war. These monuments represent a perpetual act of psychological warfare on Black people in America as symbols of the direct and physical warfare on black people throughout this country’s history of slavery and genocide.
Worse yet, we see how symbols that pay homage to the Confederacy plague the minds of those that they “serve” as well as it is these very toxic notions of racial superiority that cause the Dylan Storm Roofs, Darren Wilsons and George Zimmermans of the world to maintain belief in black inferiority and thus contribute directly to the legacy of devaluation of black life by slaughtering us in the streets or even in our own churches. The Take 'Em Down NOLA Coalition asks you to stand with us tonight and push back on this false narrative of heritage over hate. When your heritage is hate, it simply does not to be honored publicly.