Next fight over Confederate memorials brewing in Orlando

Next month, the city of Orlando will be honoring the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. Before the memorial, residents hope to remove a 100-year-old statue of a Confederate soldier at the local park where the ceremony will take place. But defenders of Confederate heritage are not letting the statue go down without a fight.

Ahead of Monday's meeting to call for the removal of the statue, there's a brewing divide among both residents pushing to topple the monument and those wanting it to remain – the latest in a national wave of debates on the present-day impact of Confederate tributes.

The issue surrounding the statue, which was erected in the city's Lake Eola Park by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1917, was brought to light by a video released last week by David Porter, a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. In the video, Porter, who is black, called the statue of a Confederate soldier an "icon of white supremacy." Porter has urged the city to remove the statue before Orlando United Day on June 12, honoring those who died in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

"After last year's Pulse massacre, local officials stood up against hatred and saluted diversity," Porter said in the video. "Yet, the Confederate statue remains in Lake Eola. Orlando leaders need to ask themselves, 'Do you support white supremacy over people of color?'"

On Monday, Porter and other detractors are meeting with the Orlando City Council to discuss the statue. This meeting has gotten the attention of pro-Confederate groups on Facebook, severalofwhich holding protest events in support of the statue throughout the day.



"A [New York] transplant is stirring up trouble over a beautiful [Confederate States of America] monument," one event organizer wrote. "Please come show support, with honor and dignity so we may defeat these vile attacks on our family's bloodline."

The organizer added: "Remember to bring your nerves of steel because as we know white-guilt liberals are annoying as hell 100 [percent] of the time. Don't forget those beautiful flags!!"

The potentially volatile nature of these protests was further amplified over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Saturday, Richard Spencer, the de-facto leader of the "alt-right" movement, led a group of torch-wielding, chanting protesters in protest of the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Fearful of any potential violence, one Orlando organizer reminded those at Monday's protest to conduct themselves in "a professional and non-violent manner at this meeting."

A national debate over removing Confederate tributes picked back up again after the 2015 mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, after which the state removed the flag from its capitol building.

The Orlando debate comes just days after a similarly contentious debate in New Orleans ended with a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis being removed.

While it remains unclear whether the Orlando statue will eventually come down before next month, Cassandra Lafser, a spokesperson for the city, told Orlando Weekly that it is taking the issue under consideration.

"This is important to the city and something we have been researching over this time," Lafser said.

21 PHOTOS
Pulse nightclub shooting
See Gallery
Pulse nightclub shooting
An aerial view shows the Pulse gay night club after a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: FBI agents investigate near the damaged rear wall of the Pulse Nightclub where Omar Mateen allegedly killed at least 50 people on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The mass shooting killed at least 50 people and injuring 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: FBI agents investigate near the damaged rear wall of the Pulse Nightclub where Omar Mateen allegedly killed at least 50 people on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The mass shooting killed at least 50 people and injuring 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: FBI agents investigate near the damaged rear wall of the Pulse Nightclub where Omar Mateen allegedly killed at least 50 people on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The mass shooting killed at least 50 people and injuring 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demetrice Naulings sobs outside the Orlando Police Headquarters where police are interviewing witnesses in the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
Concerned friends and family of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting wait outside of the Orlando Police Department on Sunday, June 12, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Ray Rivera, DJ at the Pulse nightclub, is consoled by a friend outside of the Orlando Police Department on Sunday, June 12, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Police stand in front of one of the houses that officials indicated was connected to the Orlando shooter in Port St. Lucie, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
An aerial view shows the Pulse gay night club after a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Police stand in front of one of the houses that officials indicated was connected to the Orlando shooter in Port St. Lucie, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: FBI agents investigate near the damaged rear wall of the Pulse Nightclub where Omar Mateen allegedly killed at least 50 people on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The mass shooting killed at least 50 people and injuring 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: FBI agents investigate near the damaged rear wall of the Pulse Nightclub where Omar Mateen allegedly killed at least 50 people on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The mass shooting killed at least 50 people and injuring 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Officers arrive at the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
An aerial view shows the Pulse gay night club after a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Orlando Police Chief John Mina and other city officials answer the media's questions about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski
Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The post Next Fight Over Confederate Memorials Brewing In Orlando appeared first on Vocativ.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.