NEW ORLEANS - Take ‘Em Down NOLA, a group dedicated to removing Confederate statues in New Orleans, says Mayor LaToya Cantrell met in secret with a group dedicated to preserving the controversial statues.
Malcolm Suber of Take ‘Em Down NOLA said Cantrell betrayed the trust of his organization and the people of New Orleans when she met with the Monumental Task Committee.
“Mayor Cantrell has been meeting secretly with the supporters of the white supremacy monuments in the city,” Sauber said during a press conference on the steps of City Hall. “She has formed a secret committee during her interim period, and we are sorely disappointed that she would insult not only Take ‘Em Down NOLA, but the entire black community and progressive community of this city by fraternizing with people we know are about maintaining and, if possible, re-erecting these racist monuments in our city.”
Suber said he wants Cantrell to publicly announce whether she did, in fact, meet with the Monumental Task Committee and form a secret task force, which has been reported by several local news outlets.
If the reports are true, Suber said Cantrell needs to renounce the recommendations of the committee, dissolve the committee, and hold a public forum to tell the public what she plans to do with the statues that have been taken down and with the ones that still remain.
“We were, like everybody else, listening to the promises of the new Mayor about being progressive, being with the people, being about the future, breaking glass ceilings,” he said. “Of course, we don’t think that this is an illustration that she broke any ceilings at all.”
If the matter was put to a public vote, Suber said he believes the people of New Orleans would overwhelmingly agree to an ordinance written by Take ‘Em Down NOLA that mandates the removal of all statues, street names, and school names that honor people who advocated for slavery and the repression of black Americans.
As for the four statues that have already been taken down and are said to have been the focal point of Cantrell’s secret meetings, “as far as I’m concerned personally, they can be thrown in the Mississippi River,” Suber said.
The Mayor's office has not yet released a statement on the issue.