Black Lives Matter over newly built neo-Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas.

Earlier this month, RepurposeMemorial.com posted its latest billboard across from the newly built neo-Confederate memorial in Orange, Texas where Tracie grew up.

We are happy to report that “Black Lives Matter” currently looks down on the site from across the road.

Tracie and I launched RepurposeMemorial.com in January, 2018 (we began protesting the site in November 2017 after the neo-Confederates began displaying their flags there for the first time). Since that time, we have repeatedly asked the Sons of Confederate Veterans (the neo-Confederate and outwardly racist group behind the memorial) to enter into dialog with us about how the memorial could be repurposed (not torn down) to reflect community values in a city where nearly half the residents are black and where there is a sordid legacy of racist violence.

So far, the Sons have responded with threats of violence and trolling.

The billboard was made possible through our ongoing GoFundMe campaign. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we were able to secure the billboard for six months. This is the second billboard we’ve published since we inked our latest contract.

We hope to raise enough money to renew the contract by the time it expires in January, 2021 (right before Martin Luther King Day).

The “Confederate Memorial of the Wind” stands on Martin Luther King Dr., one of the city’s main arteries. Construction on the site began in 2015 and the neo-Confederates began displaying their flags there in late 2017 (not long after the notorious neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate march in Charlottesville, Virginia).

The response to the new billboard has been overwhelmingly positive.

Heartfelt thanks to Orange native designer Ashley Evans for creating the artwork and to Beaumont-based photographer Pete Churton for the photo above.

And thank you to everyone who contributed to our campaign: none of this would be possible without you!

Jeremy Parzen

Thank you for helping us raise our billboard overlooking the memorial for the next 6 months!

Thanks to your generosity and solidarity (via our GoFundMe), we were able to purchase 6 months of advertising space for the price of 5. With our new contract, our billboards will be appearing through the end of the year and MLK Day 2021. Over the course of our now 3-year campaign to repurpose the site, countless Orange residents have written us to express their support for our efforts. Every time a mother or father drives down MLK Dr. (a main artery) in Orange to take their children to school, they see our billboard across from the memorial. We hope it is a reminder to them that the overwhelming majority of Orange residents oppose the conspicuous display of Confederate iconography in their city. The billboard wouldn’t be possible without you. Please see the new artwork below. I’ve also included a photo from our last protest in June. In the background you can see the billboard that was made possible by our previous round of fund raising. Tracie and I would like to share our heartfelt thanks with you for donating to our campaign.

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.

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.