Open Letter to the Residents of New Orleans

From: Take ‘Em Down NOLA Coalition

The New Orleans family is defined by the diverse and inclusive nature of its culture in spaces both public and private. Public spaces are for all of the public and should not be used to promote the abhorrent views of the white ruling class to uphold symbols of Black oppression. Not only that but our tax dollars should no longer be used to maintain these structures. There is no basis to support the continued littering of our public squares and buildings with monuments, street names and public schools named after white supremacists. These memorials only serve as constant reminders of the past and present domination of black people by the rich white ruling class.  They are insulting to anyone with a sense of history and who supports progress and democracy. These symbols also represent present day reality where most decisions and government policy are determined by those who accept white supremacist notions that Black people and all non-white people are less and deserve less than white people.

Some people believe that the struggle to remove white supremacist symbols is a deflection from the more meaningful struggle to end present day discrimination. They couldn’t be further from the truth. They do not understand that it is the white supremacist ideas, represented by these symbols, which permeate USA society and result in actual discrimination and murder. That is why policemen with white supremacist conceptions of young Black people can murder them so easily. This why the so-called criminal justice system can practice mass incarceration of Black people with the approval of most white people. This is why we have over 50% unemployment for Black men in New Orleans and there is no editorial outcry by the white ruling class press.

If our New Orleans family is to have a chance at real racial reconciliation, we must remove all obvious symbols of white supremacy to show our collective will to address entrenched systemic oppression, which his reeking havoc in the minds, homes, and neighborhoods of our families city-wide. Now is our opportunity to be proactive. All over the USA, especially in the South, progressive Black people and their allies are leading struggles to rid the South of the symbols of treason and racist national oppression.  State governments in South Carolina and Alabama have removed the Rebel Flag. The Memphis city council has voted to remove the statue and the body of confederate General and founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest.  The Georgia NAACP has called for the removal of the Stone Mountain memorial to the confederacy.

Our Mayor and city council have belatedly decided to join this progressive trend.  They have however called for a 60-day period of discussion. Our position is that the Mayor and City Council’s plan for removal is too limited and too slow. We have the following demands:

  1. That the city release a timeline for the immediate removal of the monuments;
  2. That the city expand the definition from 4 specific monuments to encompass all monuments to White Supremacy;
  3. That the city develop a community driven process for the removal of the monuments and the choosing of their replacements.

Call Mayor Landrieu at 658-4900 and City Council at 658-1000 today and join us in demanding the immediate removal of these abominable symbols.

Down with all symbols of white supremacy!