Citizens speak before city council votes on removal of Confederate statue

Citizens speak in front of city council members as the council is set to vote on removing a Confederate statue from Travis Park.

More than 100 people packed city council chambers on Wednesday evening for a passionate debate on whether or not the city should relocate the Confederate monument at Travis park, a statue that has stood for more than 100 years.

San Antonio police showed up well prepared for an emotional night of debate. Despite emotions running high, everyone remained peaceful and the debate quickly moved inside to council chambers.

"I am not for the removal of this monument. It's been there since 1899 and it still need to stand there. It's there for our future generations to learn from," Joshua Huff said.

"To this day, our country faces many controversial issues that perpetuate the marginalization of people of color. These statues perpetuate the dark reminder and yes, they are a part of our history, but not to be celebrated," Tracy Talavera said.

In all, 140 people signed up to address city council on Wednesday and, due to the overwhelming turnout, each person was given two minutes to speak, or five minutes for a group. Usually, it's three minutes per person.

The original request to relocate the Confederate monument in Travis park came in July by council members Cruz Shaw and Roberto Trevino. The debate and process was expected to play out for at least several more weeks, but Mayor Ron Nirenberg has used his discretion to bypass a governance committee and put the issue to a full vote on Thursday, leaving some to believe the issue is being rushed.

"If you want to do it right, if they really boast about transparency, well why aren't they doing it?" Mike Finger asked.

Others are glad to see council vote on the issue soon, especially since council members have publicly expressed overwhelming support to relocate the monument.

"For me, this is what San Antonio is all about. It's people coming out to make a difference," Trish Florence said.

"That's just the tip of the iceberg, the statue coming down. That's just a small product. There's a big system in place and we have to take it down layer by layer," Walter Perry said.

For those who don't want to see the statue relocated, but know it could be on its way down, the battle is far from over.

"They really need to let us be a part of this action, if it's really going to come down, let us be a part of the move," Rusty Mayhan said.

City council will meet for a full vote on Thursday at 9 a.m. and citizens can address council then as well.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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