On Friday, the Jax Chamber issued a statement after its Board of Directors meeting, backing the City Council President’s call for an inventory of Confederate monuments.
However, they did not call for removal of those monuments — as the Council President did on Monday … before seemingly walking back that position under fire this week.
Chamber Board Chair Darnell Smith asserted that the Chamber “support[s] the effort to inventory all of Jacksonville’s public monuments and conduct a swift, honest and thoughtful look at who we honor, and more importantly, who is missing from our public landscape. Discussions should include how we heal wounds that may still persist from our past. Among those should be a consideration of how we memorialize our city’s history in public spaces, and will most certainly involve additional tributes to Jacksonville’s historical leaders.”
Council President Anna Brosche this week called for an inventory of monuments, ahead of an “appropriate plan of action to relocate Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers” and initially called for “legislation to move Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers from public property to museums and educational institutions.”
The Jacksonville Civic Council backed Brosche’s play, with its head Ed Burr lauding Brosche and Mayor Lenny Curry for “taking the lead to thoughtfully consider removal of Confederate monuments from local public property, particularly in light of the tragic events of last weekend.”
Mayor Curry, meanwhile, had not fully endorsed Brosche’s audacious play, noting to local media that removal of monuments is not among his top priorities.
And it seems Brosche, who has taken considerable pressure inside City Hall and from the general public (including hate mail), is open to not removing the monuments after all
“We can develop a measured plan of understanding what we have — why it’s there, why it was erected — and be able to develop a very measured response, including understanding private funding, over how many years what’s going to happen, (and) where would they go if they went anywhere,” Brosche told WJXT Thursday.
We asked Brosche about the seeming daylight between her position at the start of the week and at the end, and she told us the following.
“I asked for an inventory to start a process of understanding what we have to determine next steps. Removal of the monuments remains an option,” Brosche said, “and I’ve received many alternative suggestions for consideration this week.”