Aditya Penumarti/Nubian Message
Protesters march towards the confederate monument at the Crush Confederates at the Capital event on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh.
Keilah Davis | Editor-in-Chief
On Saturday, Feb. 9, over 50 people participated in an anti-Confederate monument demonstration organized by Smash Racism Raleigh at the North Carolina State Capitol on Union Square.
Skye McCollum, a third-year studying political science and communication, is an officer in Young Democratic Socialists of America at NC State and was a main organizer of the demonstration.
“We are Smash Racism Raleigh,” McCollum said. “We’re a coalition group that is formed of a lot of NC State students mostly rooting from Raleigh DSA and Young Democratic Socialists of America. We are trying to form a coalition to bring awareness to these racist statues.”
Approximately 14 counter-protesters affiliated with Heirs to the Confederacy gathered on the corner of Edenton St. and Salisbury St. in front of the North Carolina Department of Justice.
According to State Capitol Police, both groups had protest permits for their respective locations.
There are three monuments dedicated to Confederate soldiers on Capitol grounds. The tallest is 75 feet and faces Hillsborough St.
State Capitol Police placed temporary fencing around the three monuments. Officers on bicycles and on foot were stationed at each monument and throughout Union Square.
The demonstration began at 1:30 p.m. with prepared remarks delivered by NC State students.
“At the root of each Confederate flag, Confederate state, Confederate supporter is the idealization of dehumanizing black people,” said Joseph Campbell, a second-year studying English. “Every confederate monument is a direct statement that these people are willing to die to maintain social structures of discrimination, enslavement and pain.”
Jody Anderson, a fourth-year studying biological sciences, said, “This statue, these police, they are structures are of white supremacy, structures of attack on black people.”
Last month, Anderson was found not guilty of charges related to protests of Silent Sam.
The group of demonstrators walked to the tallest Confederate statue, holding signs that read “no tributes to white supremacy,” “my heritage was compiled by racist assholes” and “nothing to be proud of.” The group chanted “hey hey, ho ho, racist statues got to go.”
Several counter-protesters stood near the group in apparel displaying confederate flags and “Trump 2020.” Some silently recorded on their cell phones from a distance while others verbally expressed their disagreement.
At the tallest monument, participants were given the opportunity to share their own remarks. The first participant said, “Confederate lives matter” and ran away. The crowd responded with the chant, “Confederate lives don’t exist.”
Others expressed solidarity between Smash Racism Raleigh and anti-fascist groups in cities across North Carolina.
The demonstration officially ended when State Capitol Police asked the group to disperse at the end of the protest permit period.
At 2:30 p.m., a few demonstrators relocated to the corner opposite the counter-protesters. Police officers prevented either side from approaching the other.
Throughout the afternoon, local news outlets interviewing counter-protesters were interrupted with chants like this one: “Nat Turner, John Brown, anti-racists run this town.”
Thom, an NC State student, and Lindsay Ayling, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, explained this tactic.
“We don’t want to give them the privilege of being able to spread their views to a larger audience,” Thom said.
Ayling said, “These people are despicable; they’re racists, they’re probably in the Klan and they should not have a platform to spew their hatred on the local news… Whenever these Confederates congregate, it’s important to have people out there to oppose them.”
Calvin Deutschbein, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, also commented.
“We no longer get to feel safe on our campus,” Deutschbein said. “We don’t want that to happen on our campus and we don’t want that to happen in Raleigh. So we come out and we show that there is an alternative vision for what the city can look like.”
When another counter-protester was interviewed on camera, Thom, Ayling and Deutschbein began shouting this chant: “1, 2, 3 f*** the Confederacy; 4, 5, 6 f*** the Confederacy.”
Two women with a sign that read “Stop hating, start loving” said, “Let him talk… This is why nothing gets done.”
Ayling replied, “Actually, it got a lot done in Chapel Hill.”