Hundreds attend Take Em Down NOLA march on Saturday

Hundreds protest for monuments, street signs to be taken down

NEW ORLEANS -- The deadly events in Charlottesville, Virginia spearheaded Take Em Down NOLA co-founder Malcolm Suber to organize a march one week later in New Orleans.

The group marched from Congo Square to Jackson Square, sending a message to city council that their fight is not over.

"If you've noticed this week, in every other city just like that there. Baltimore took down four statues in one night. Lexington, Kentucky just took down two statues. And so people are not waiting. They know that history has said that these things were offensive and represented white supremacy," Suber said.

Lakeesha Harris says she feels it is her responsibility to make sure her voices of the minority community are heard. She and others feel monuments like Andrew Jackson need to come down. 

"I'm here in support of Take 'Em Down Nola, taking down all of these monuments," Harris said.

Joshua Tanner said he believes calling for the monuments to come down is a stand for justice. 

"To really stand for justice, peace and love and be able to bring more to the conversation of taking down these statues like Andrew Jackson and everyone else who represented white supremacy," Tanner said.

The large group received support and cheers from residents in the French Quarter. 

"It's a beautiful thing to see everybody gather and know what the cause is," one resident said.

Members of Take Em Down Nola want to see the city release a timeline of the immediate removal of the monuments and street signs that hold names of white supremacists. They also want the city to develop a community-driven process to remove the monuments and choose their replacements. 

However, not everyone at the march felt that way. 

"This is a United States president that saved New Orleans from a British invasion. We should honor him," one counterprotestor, Tristan Harold, said. 

"There's something wrong, I think they're radicals. The idea that slavery is the end all be all of a person's character, that's radical," Harold said. 

Word of the march caused some concerns about safety, however police blocked off the streets with barricades and locked the gates of Jackson Square to ensure public safety. 

In the meantime, those who participated in the march are just hoping for better race relations. 

"It's an issue as Lakeesha said that needs to be healed and addressed in a way that's healing and not divisive," one protestor said. 

As of Saturday at 10 p.m. there was no word of any arrests that took place at the march. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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