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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Activists discuss black oppression, confederate statue

Standing at the podium, Nailah Summers fought back tears as she listed names.

Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Walter Scott.

"I could obviously go on," the activist said, her voice breaking, "and hope that a list of names alone would inspire action. But I know better."

Her speech was one of many as activists, politicians and more discussed the history of black oppression and racism and what to do with Confederate symbols and monuments during a meeting Saturday at Santa Fe College’s Blount Center.

While Summers and others focused on black oppression at the beginning of the meeting, the discussion eventually focused on the statue of a Confederate soldier in downtown Gainesville.

County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson said he had not yet decided on the statue’s fate but proposed using private money to relocate it.

"I think as a community, if we want to move it, we need to raise the money to do it," Hutchinson said, adding that he would write the first check.

Hutchinson said he felt the county money that would be spent on the relocation "ought to be spent on literacy, health care and other things that truly are business of government."

Ed Emery, a District 3 congressional candidate, said he believed that those who put it there should remove it.

"The Alachua County Government didn’t put it there, they accepted it," Emery said. "White people put it there. I think white people need to take it away."

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