Open letter to our Essence visitors from the Take 'Em Down NOLA Coalition. (TEDN)

New Orleans is riddled with over 100 statues, street names and public schools named to honor slaveholders and confederate officers. These white supremacist monuments were erected in the Jim Crow era to remind Black New Orleanians that the rich whites, the descendants of the slave holders and slave traders, were still in charge. Take 'Em Down NOLA has been leading the struggle to remove them.

Greetings Sisters and Brothers!

The TEDN Coalition welcomes you to New Orleans. We hope that you have a fabulous and memorable weekend enjoying our food, music and culture, We urgently need to also inform you of a significant struggle against white supremacy that TEDN and other anti-racist forces are waging in New Orleans.

Last July, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in reaction to the Charleston massacre, proposed removing 4 white supremacist monuments. For six months TEDN mobilized hundreds of people to council meetings and rallies to pass an ordinance to remove them. In December, 2015 the New Orleans city council passed the ordinance in accordance with the will of New Orleans residents to put these racist monuments in the past of our city.

In May, 2016 the rich white defenders of all things confederate filed lawsuits. After being denied an injunction from three courts they finally got an injunction against removal by reaching out to 3 pro-confederate white Judges on the U.S. 5 th Circuit Court of Appeals. In an unprecedented action the court granted the injunction in secret without public oral argument.

TEDN views this stay as a victory for white supremacy. This same obstruction was used over and again during the civil rights movement.

We demand that the Mayor and City Council go forth immediately with preparations to remove these monuments as this is just an application of the democratic right of New Orleans to home rule with the rights to decide what monuments and names should occupy our public spaces.

We ask you, our guests, to lend a hand and join us in demanding removal of all white supremacist monuments from public spaces in New Orleans. Let the Mayor and City council know that you support removal and would prefer that Essence not continue coming to a city that venerates white supremacy. New Orleans is a global tourist destination. Is this what we want the world to see?

You can:

Remove all monuments to white supremacy in New Orleans!