EL DORADO, Ark. (06/29/20) — A large crowd gathered Monday evening in El Dorado for a peaceful demonstration concerning the Confederate statue at the Union County Courthouse.
We’re still a month away from the Quorum Court making a historic decision on whether or not the statue, which has been in that location since 1909, should be removed from the courthouse lawn.
In the mean time, a group in favor of it being removed met Monday evening to make their voices heard and allow everyone to sign a petition in favor of its removal.
“Take it down. Take it down,” they chanted.
Pro-monument supporters stood in the very same spot Saturday afternoon also exhibiting their First Amendment right to assemble and voice their beliefs. A small number of counter-protesters also met in the same area that to express their opinions about the statue.
According to an El Dorado News Times article, the gathering around the monument was peaceful until an altercation near the street erupted between a pro-monument supporter and a counter-protester.
The interaction was seen partially through a live video posted to Will Crowder’s Facebook page. Crowder is a member on the quorum court.
Those that attended the demonstration claimed the man raised his hands at the young counter-protester as if he was going to hit her.
“That’s what made me turn around and make a u-turn in the road,” one woman who witnessed the clash said at Monday’s demonstration. “I don’t care if she’s Black, White, Chinese, Puerto Rican, she’s still a child.”
There were over 100 people gathered in front of the monument Monday evening to rally against the statue but to also unify as a group following the incident on Saturday.
“Of course we all saw the terrible footage of this big overgrown man trying to intimidate this young girl and we didn’t like that so we wanted to make sure we came out and showed a unified front,” Markeith Cook said.
Across the street stood pro-monument supporters who said they were there to protect the monument. They claimed their support of the monument isn’t about race rather it’s about their heritage and history of which they don’t want removed.
A few of the people that stood in support of the statue said they had already sent in their letters to be reviewed by the court when they make their decision.
The pro-monument group said they don’t understand why the statue has been in that spot for over a century and there is just now being wide-spread attention to remove statues across the country. but others say now is the right time for that.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have sparked protests and many Confederate statues have either been torn down, removed or relocated but many say this is just a reoccurring debate and now is the right time to really move forward.
“We can make a difference,” one woman said. “We can make a change and it’s time for a change.”
Statues in Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Bentonville have already been removed after controversy sparked in those towns as well. Union County residents are looking to do the same thing.
“It doesn’t have to be torn down,” Markeith Cook said. “I could care less what they do with it. I don’t want my tax dollars subsidized in the upkeep of that statue.”
“We’re trying to make this county a better country instead of all of this racism because we’re all human beings it doesn’t matter what color we are,” Bobby Roberts said.
The group hopes after today people are moved to speak up and vote in the upcoming elections.
“It’s a new time and a new season and I encourage everybody out there to go out this November and vote,” Benito Glosson said. “Believe me your vote counts. If you don’t vote you can’t complain about nothing.”
Union County Residents can submit written letters to the courthouse on their opinions concerning the removal of the statue. Union County Judge, Mike Loftin, would like those submitted by July 10.