ALLENDALE, Mich. — A protest is being held today at the Veterans Garden of Honor in the Allendale Community Park to demand the removal of a confederate statue.
The event started at 1 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 4 p.m., according to the description on the event Facebook page.
“I'm calling on all GVSU Lakers to come out and protest for the removal of this statue that resides in our community,” the event page reads.
“Class of 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, alumni, professors, friends, and families now is the time to come together and make an impact to better our community. If you go to GRCC, Hope, Calvin, or any other college in Michigan please join us. If you are a citizen of Michigan join us to demand the removal of the only Confederate statue in Michigan.”
At the time of the protest, 928 people responded as interested in the event, which organizers said is being held because Allendale City Supervisor Adam Elenbaas has not responded to their emails or phone calls.
At 11:44 a.m., event organizer Katherine Parker posted to the event page and said that counter protestors had arrived at the park.
Those in the counter protest created their own event page, with 54 people interested.
“Let's get together and peacefully counter protest the removal of the Allendale Township Civil War statue,” the event page reads. “Bring your friends, don't lose your cool and stand united against the destruction of communal property.”
The statue in question depicts Union and Confederate soldiers standing back-to-back and a child slave beneath them reaching for a plaque that reads “Freedom To Slaves,” referencing the Emancipation Proclimation.
Last week, the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists (MACRA) expressed concern surrounding the history and message of the statue and asked the Allendale Township Board to remove the confederate soldier and the child slave from the memorial.
Allendale leaders heard public opinions on the matter Monday, June 22. A majority of the people who spoke at the meeting were against the removal of the statue, although attendees did argue for both sides.
At the end of the nearly 4-hour meeting, the board members said they were opposed to removing or altering the statue, but they did not vote on the matter.
The board plans to formally vote during a special meeting Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m.
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