Locals rally to remove Confederate monument
By Wesley Gardner
Residents from throughout Caldwell County gathered at the county courthouse in Lockhart on Friday to rally for the push to have the Confederate monument removed from the courthouse lawn.
The event was a part of a convoy that included stops in San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and Lockhart that aimed to point out instances of buildings or monuments many perceive to be symbols of oppression.
The Confederate monument has been a point of contention throughout the last month after Lockhart resident and business owner Cody Kimbell brought the issue to County Judge Hoppy Haden’s attention, eventually landing it on the commissioner’s court’s agenda.
In the weeks that followed, dozens of residents have spoken out both in favor and in opposition of having the monument removed from the courthouse lawn. Last week, commissioners voted to approve a nine-person committee that will be tasked with forming a proposal for what to do with the monument, which will then go to the commissioners for final approval.
Haden noted the committee met last week and is prepared to present its recommendation to commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday.
“It was a long meeting,” said Haden. “By the end of the meeting, we managed to reach a compromise, and I think it’s a decent one. I think it will please most people.”
On Friday, several community members who have been prominent voices in the push to have the monument removed spoke out at the event.
Margaret Carter, a Lockhart resident who helped organize a peaceful protest in the city last month was among them.
“That statue has been divisive in our community for a very long time,” said Carter. “I want to thank you all – my brown brothers and sisters, my white brothers and sisters – thank you for standing with us today to fight against injustice and racism in America today.
“It is time that America takes a good look at itself and deal with the ugly truth of the past so we can get past it and have a great America.”
Lockhart resident Sterling Riles, who has been vocal at commissioner’s court meetings, stood next to the monument as he spoke to the crowd.
“We have to stand together against this symbol that somebody put here in 1923 to intimidate – to try and drive a wedge between the community in Lockhart, Texas, so now we stand together to say we’re not putting up with this anymore,” said Riles. “It’s been here for 97 years.
“It’s got to go … Together, we stand. Divided we fall. We’re stronger together.”
Phillip Reyes, president of the Lockhart chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), also spoke at the event.
“We all support Black Lives Matter,” said Reyes. “We sent a letter to the commissioner’s court that asked that the Confederate monument be moved from the Caldwell County Courthouse lawn, including every other Confederate memorial in the county.
“That memorial must go down.”
Over the weekend, an unknown person or group of individuals threw eggs at the Confederate monument. County officials said it was unknown whether the incident was involved with the rally.
On egging the monument, Haden said, “It would be nice if people would allow the process to work itself out instead of damaging a piece of history. Even if you don’t agree with it, it’s still historical, and vandalizing it is never the answer.”