Honor your history or get with the times? That’s the debate that’s ripping across the country, even dividing the citizens of San Antonio over a Confederate monument that sits in Travis Park and what it represents.
Critics call the statue a cruel reminder of bigotry. Supporters say it’s a monument to those who died.
Now, the controversy continues to play out in front of city council as both sides made their case as to why they believe the monument should stay or go.
Each resident had three minutes to make their case and the talk lasted for two hours.
Outside of council chambers, armed militia members raised eyebrows. They said that they were there to serve as security for people in favor of keeping the Confederate monument in place at Travis Park because some of those people claim that they’ve received death threats.
However, there was never any real tension inside and only about 30 people spoke on the issue.
Those against the possible removal call it an attempt to erase an important part of history.
“To remove the Travis Park monument with this idea of relocating it to another place would negate the purpose for which it was put there in the first place,” one person said.
“This monument was dedicated to the Confederate veterans that fought and died in the war between the states,” another said.
But those who want to see the statue removed say that the Confederate monument still represents the Confederacy and a part of history that shouldn’t be glorified in a public place.
“Our commemoration should be different, a commemoration of those who struggled for hundreds of years of colonization, segregation, and oppression, and trying to lead us to light,” one person said.
“I don’t see how we can continue to allow that monument that glorifies not only traitors but slave owners,” another said.
By the end of the night, it was clear both sides were far apart from a resolution that could possibly appease everybody.
“We are prepared to move forward with a recall for you, Trevino, you Shaw, and District 4 if we need be,” one resident said.
“I believe if those people want the statue, they should have no problem with it in a museum. It takes nothing away from the statue, moving it from a park to moving it to a museum where it can still be honored, it can still be enjoyed, it can still be respected,” one speaker said.
Councilmen Cruz Shaw and Roberto Trevino originally proposed the idea of moving the monument, but there are several council members who have already indicated that they support the idea.
Still no word on when city council will vote.