Florida debates: Should a Confederate monument at the state Capitol be removed?
A monument honoring slain Confederate soldiers in front of Florida’s Old Capitol is the latest subject of debate by politicians seeking to act against racism in response to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Florida’s capital city and a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, called on Gov. Rick Scott to remove the monument from the Capitol grounds, where similar memorials honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., veterans and firefighters, among others.
“In the wake of Charlottesville, people all around the country are grappling with how we deal with our nation’s history and its uglier elements, including slavery, racism and the Confederacy. Floridians must be a part of this work because our own history is checkered,” Gillum, who is black, said in a campaign statement Wednesday.
“We owe it to our children and grandchildren to acknowledge that while we cannot change history, we do not have to glorify its ugliest moments with displays on public lands,” he said. “And most certainly not in our state’s capital, and not in front of our historic state house. This weekend’s tragedy calls all decent people to act with courage, and I hope the governor will do so.”
Scott spokesman John Tupps would not comment about the possibility of removing the monument, stating only: “We have received the Gillum campaign’s press release.”
Earlier Wednesday, the governor again condemned the rallies in Charlottesville, calling them “disgusting.”
“There’s no place in our country for racism, bigotry, the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists. There’s no moral equivalency between the two sides,” Scott said.