Advocates call for removal of Confederate monument in Brownsville
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the city's next commissioner meeting has been postponed to 5 p.m. on June 29, 2021.
With celebrations underway to celebrate Juneteenth – the day that marks the end of slavery in the U.S. - some Brownsville residents are reigniting a fight to get rid of a monument honoring a Confederate leader.
Members of the community say it's an unfair contradiction to have the pride flag in front of the Brownsville information center just feet away from a monument that reads, "A memorial to honor those who have served the Confederacy." They say they want this taken down on Juneteenth.
"It just doesn't seem well that the city is attempting to celebrate pride, but still honor those who enslaved the ancestors of the founders of the pride movement,” Brownsville resident Antonio Castillo said, adding that he is the father of Black children.
"My three youngest children have African-American heritage,” he said. “They shouldn't be walking in a place where the city is telling them, ‘Hey, you're inferior to us.’"
Castillo has been fighting for over five years to get the monument taken down. Last summer, he and other advocates convinced the city to take down a similar monument of Jefferson Davis, a former president of the confederate states.
Castillo says this monument is evidence of what he says is minority against minority racism.
"The confederacy stood for white supremacy, keeping people in bondage. Not just African-Americans, but also mistreating other people of color,” Castillo said. “Sadly a lot of prejudice does exist towards African-Americans in the city of Brownsville and that's something that has been passed on for generations."
Castillo says he and other advocates have reached out to the city about this monument - but have never gotten a response.
After the original airing of the newscast, the city of Brownsville responded with the following statement:
“The City of Brownsville appreciates the public's interest in the memorials to members of the Confederacy located in the City's Visitor Center. Last year, the City removed the monument to Jefferson Davis that once stood in Washington Park.
The City welcomes public comment on how to address the remaining memorials during public comment at a City of Brownsville Commission Meeting. The next commission meeting is scheduled at 5 P.M. on June 29, 2021.
The City remains committed to fostering an inclusive and thriving community built upon an accurate portrayal of our past.”