CORNELIUS, N.C. — A crowd of close to 100 people gathered Tuesday evening outside of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius to peacefully protest and encourage the removal of the confederate monument nearby.
For years, the statue of the Confederate soldier has caused divided discussion throughout the town—some who say it should stay, others who hope to see it go.
“They’re hurtful,” North Carolina Senator Natasha Marcus said. “They are relics to the Jim Crow past and our past of slavery. They are monuments to the Confederacy which were efforts to keep certain people enslaved for the rest of their lives.”
Senator Marcus also mentioned that as a lawmaker she is doing her part to try and get a current state law overturned which states monuments on public property can not be removed. But in the case of this Confederate monument in Cornelius, it sits on private property and is owned by the Mt. Zion Monument Association. As the owners, they have the final say.
Some community members are saying the time to act is now.
“People are looking for justice. We are looking for equality,” resident Pam Jones said. “We don’t want to have a monument to white supremacy and racism standing in our community any longer.”
Member of Unity in Community Ronald Potts agrees. He said he’s hoping for a positive outcome based on the outpour of support at the protest.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Potts said. “I can tell how hearts are changing. Years ago you wouldn’t have gotten this crowd in North Mecklenburg.”
The Mt. Zion Monument Association has not yet made a decision whether or not to remove the statue, but in a statement, they said “Due to this climate, the association is exploring all options available to protect and save this significant part of the history of Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina.”