City Attorney: “The City Council has always been opposed to the existence of the Memorial in Orange.”

“The City Council has always been opposed to the existence of the Memorial in Orange,” writes Orange, Texas city attorney John Cash Smith in an op-ed published yesterday by the Orange Leader, the city’s paper of record.

Read Mr. Smith’s letter to learn what steps the city has taken to hinder the site’s visibility.

Please donate to our GoFundMe campaign to raise an MLK billboard overlooking the newly built Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas.

No violence but tensions high at our Saturday protest of the Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas. Thank you Orange PD for keeping us safe.

Above: Tracie and her friend LaToya at the Saturday, June 13 protest of the Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas where Tracie and LaToya both grew up and attended high school together.

Despite threats of violence and rumors that “Antifa” would be at our Saturday protest of the Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas, our demonstration was peaceful and without incident.

You can watch footage of the event, including interviews, here on the local Fox affiliate.

And one of the local papers of record, the Beaumont Enterprise, filed this report, including a slide show of photos taken at the protest.

We’ve been protesting the site since 2017 but this was the first time that Sons of Confederate Veterans and their supporters appeared at one of our gatherings. Some of them drove up to three hours to be there. Apparently, they were answering a “call to arms” by social media users who believed we were there to tear down their memorial.

We have never advocated for it to be destroyed. From day one, we have asked for it to be repurposed and we have called for the Sons of Confederate Veterans to enter into dialog with us about how this site is impacting the community. The name of our campaign and our website is RepurposeMemorial.

Given the alarming tone of the rumors being spread on social media, it’s likely that they were heavily armed. And they were drinking alcohol throughout the morning while we were there.

One of our members also received a direct threat from a co-worker, a middle-aged white man who said he would use us as “target practice.” Evidently, he was already being tracked by local authorities for previous threats of violence. They were so concerned about him that they sent police to our member’s home and to his home as well. And they decided to have a robust police presence at the event.

Tracie and I would like to share our heartfelt thanks with Orange Mayor Larry Spears, Orange County Judge John Gothia, and the Orange Police Department for keeping us all safe on Saturday.

After the protest ended, Tracie and I spoke to some of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their supporters. As they always do, they claimed that the Confederate flag was not a racist or divisive symbol. Nothing new on that front. But this was the first time that any of them even spoke to us or listened to our position. I hope it’s an “opening,” a chance for us to start talking about how they “celebrate their ancestors” without offending black residents’ sense of belonging.

Thank you also to everyone who has sent notes of support and solidarity. And thanks to everyone who has given to our ongoing GoFundMe campaign to raise our Martin Luther King billboard, overlooking the site, for an entire year.

In the past, we’ve bought one-month stretches of advertising (thanks to the generosity of donors). You can see the current billboard below. We are currently working on a new billboard and once we raise the funds, we plan to have a series of billboards appearing over the course of 52 weeks.

Please click here to give.

Thank you for your support. We’re not giving up this fight. Ever. Thank you.

Threats of violence and fear mongering will not stop us from protesting the Confederate monument in Orange, Texas today.

Threats of violence and fear mongering will not deter our protest of the Confederate monument in Orange, Texas today (see protest details here).

Yesterday, one of our protest organizers was threatened with violence by one of her co-workers.

Here’s what she wrote on her Facebook:

    A couple coworkers asked for the address and when I gave them the address one of my middle-aged white coworkers spoke out & said, “Good. This will make good for Target practice. I can use the practice.”

Locally based white supremacists have also been posting threatening messages like the one below on social media.

I have been in touch with local authorities and they have provided protection for our organizer (she is safe and secure and Tracie and I will be visiting with her later today).

And the same officials have also assured me that police will be present at today’s demonstration to keep the peace in case white supremacist agitators confront us.

A number of our fellow protesters have already told us that they don’t feel safe coming out today. We completely understand and support their decision not to stand with us.

Anyone who would like to contact me can reach me by phone at (917) 405-3426. Please be patient if I don’t answer immediately. I’ll get back to you asap.

Tracie and I will be there today from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Please join us if you can. And please remember that everyone’s safety is more important than anything else.

Protest Confederate Memorial: Saturday, June 13

Please join us in PROTEST of the Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas (at Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. and Interstate 10, north access road):

Saturday, June 13
location:
Confederate Memorial of the Wind
(Google map)

time:
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

WE ARE ASKING ALL PROTESTERS TO WEAR A MASK
AND MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCE.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE REPURPOSE EMAIL NEWSLETTER
to receive event details and updates.

MLK billboard appears over Confederate memorial throughout Black History Month. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Thanks to the generosity of everyone who contributed to our GoFundMe campaign, not only did our Martin Luther King billboard appear over the newly erected Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas on Martin Luther King Day this year, but it continues to appear and has appeared for the entirety of African American History Month (February).

Our goal was to buy one month of advertising space, starting a few days before the MLK holiday (January 20, this year), to coincide with our protest of the site that day. But ultimately we raised enough money to cover two months, making it possible to keep it up throughout February and beyond.

Thank you for making it possible.

One of our donors this year was the Southern Poverty Law Center. Please check out the center’s Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy website and awareness program.

Please follow this blog, follow our campaign on Facebook, or click here to join the Repurpose Memorial email list to receive event details and updates.

Happy Martin Luther King Day! Join us in protest of the Confederate memorial in Orange TODAY 2-4 p.m.

Today and for the next four weeks, our MLK billboard looks down on the newly erected Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas.

It was designed by an Orange native, Ashley Evans (see below).

We were able to raise the billboard thanks to the support of concerned citizens who donated to our GoFundMe campaign. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Protest of the Confederate Memorial of the Wind
Orange, Texas

Martin Luther King Day
Monday, January 20, 2020

location: Confederate Memorial of the Wind (Google map)
time: 2-4 p.m.

About Ashley:

Ashley Evans is a freelance graphic designer with roots in Orange, Texas. Her love of graphic design started in the Journalism classroom at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in 1992. She went on to study at the University of Texas and has since worked for many globally-recognized brands including Frito-Lay, Vera Bradley, BP, and MasterCard over her 20+ year career. Whether designing, writing, or teaching she has a passion for the beauty in everyday life and is honored to support Repurpose Memorial in their efforts to make Orange a beautiful and inclusive place in celebration of all veterans.

Protest on Monday, January 20, Martin Luther King Day, 2-4 p.m. Please join us!

Please join us in PROTEST of the Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas (at Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. and Interstate 10, north access road):

Martin Luther King Day
Monday, January 20, 2020

location: Confederate Memorial of the Wind (Google map)
time: 2-4 p.m.

Click here to donate to our GoFundMe campaign to post a MLK billboard across the road from the site. The billboard (above) was designed by a local artist.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE REPURPOSE EMAIL NEWSLETTER
to receive event details and updates.

Protest Confederate Memorial on MLK Day (Jan. 20) and GoFundMe for MLK Billboard to Overlook Site

Please join us in PROTEST of the Confederate Memorial in Orange, Texas (at Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. and Interstate 10, north access road):

Martin Luther King Day
Monday, January 20, 2020

location: Confederate Memorial of the Wind (Google map)
time: 2-4 p.m.

Click here to donate to our GoFundMe campaign to post a MLK billboard across the road from the site. The billboard will celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy and will be displayed by the date of our protest and for most of African American History Month.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE REPURPOSE EMAIL NEWSLETTER
to receive event details and updates.

Protest: Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 12:30-2:30 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE UPDATED TIME: We have changed the start-time for our MLK Day (Monday, January 21) protest to 12:30 p.m. (see below).

Our gathering will follow the NAACP Orange (Texas) program at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which starts at 11 a.m.

Please join us in PROTEST of the Confederate Memorial in Orange, Texas (at Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. and Interstate 10, north access road):

Martin Luther King Day
Monday, January 21, 2019

location: Confederate Memorial of the Wind (Google map)
time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon) 12:30-2:30 p.m.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE REPURPOSE EMAIL NEWSLETTER
to receive event details and updates.

Donate to our GoFundMe to display an MLK billboard over Confederate Memorial

Repurpose Memorial is raising money to buy one (1) month of advertising on a billboard that stands across the road from the newly erected Confederate Memorial of the Wind (see below), a monument built by the Sons of Confederate Veterans on Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. in Orange, Texas along Interstate 10.

In observance of Martin Luther King Day (January 21, 2019) and African American History Month (February) , the billboard will look down on the memorial, which (as of this posting) includes the Robert E. Lee battle flag, otherwise known as “the Confederate Flag.”

CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

Artwork for the billboard (above) was created pro bono by an anonymous designer.

The City of Orange, the local business community, and even a group of local pastors have asked the Sons member who organized the monument’s construction, Granvel Block, to consider repurposing the site. But he refuses to engage in dialog.

Given the demographics of Orange and the legacy of Jim Crow there, it’s clear that the conspicuous display of the Confederate Flag doesn’t reflect or align with community values. The monument’s prominent location (along a major road that leads into town, just a few freeway stops west of the Louisiana border), makes it highly visible to drivers as they arrive in the state heading west. See the photo below, taken this week by an Orange resident.

(Read a February 2018 Houstonia magazine article on the monument here.)

The content of the billboard will include an appeal to local residents and drivers to ask the Sons to repurpose the site. It will also include a link to a blog I’ve created to document our efforts, RepurposeMemorial.com.

My hope is to have the ad up by the end of next week. And I have already contacted the outdoor advertising company that owns the billboard to get the artwork and ad approved.

Tracie and I have been protesting the memorial since December 2017 and we have no intention of giving up on our cause: to remind the residents of Orange (where Tracie grew up and where her family lives) that it’s socially unacceptable to display images like the Confederate Flag in such a conspicuous location and fashion, with no regard for the values and feelings of the greater community.

We cannot thank you enough for your support. We’ve had so many residents thank us publicly and privately for our protests. We are wholly convinced that we need to speak out on this issue.

Jeremy Parzen
RepurposeMemorial.com

CLICK HERE TO DONATE.