COLUMBUS, Ga. — Tonza Thomas, president of the Columbus chapter of the NAACP, says the gazebo which sits next to the Coca-Colas Space Science Center and the confederate statue on Broadway are two signs of hate.
Thomas sent an email to Mayor Teresa Tomlinson requesting all confederate symbols in the city come down.
“I was told that this was in honor of confederate soldiers who died, but still they were confederate soldiers. Heritage is heritage but our heritage and the resemblance of this monument speaks of horror,” says Thomas.
Thursday the mayor held a news conference explaining why she believes the monument should not be removed.
“At the time this memorial went up the confederate fallen had been pardon by two presidents to relieve the burden of their prior trade or status of surviving families and lastly, it was not constructed with public funds, it was constructed by the funds related to family and friends who had raised money for those purposes,” says Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.
Thomas says Tomlinson should re-consider removing the monument.
“I’m asking the mayor out of courtesy to do it on behalf of all the citizens of Columbus, Georgia because we all live here, we work together, our children play together, and again our city’s motto is where progress has preserved so if progress is preserving, then it should come down,” says Thomas.
The mayor says she’s open to sitting down with community members and the NAACP to come up with an alternative plan.
“I am certainly open to discussion and a planning process for another monument plaque or whatever it might be that can put in a broader context the confederate or civil war monument to the dead,” says Mayor Tomlinson.