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Confederate Monument Committee to decide statue’s fate by Feb. 1

Confederate Monument Committee to decide statue’s fate by Feb. 1

Members of the committee listen and take notes during the public forum. The committee will have a recommendation on February 1st.

Confederate Monument Committee to decide statue’s fate by Feb. 1
January 22
15:31 2018

The Confederate Monument Committee is set to recommend an action regarding the Confederate statue on the Denton Square by Feb. 1. About 40 people spoke at the committee’s third to last hearing Thursday night at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center.

The committee is seeking input on two possible recommendations: moving the statue but not destroying it or keeping the statue and adding context.

“We are discussing if this is a monument for the Confederacy or a monument for the soldiers who have fallen during that time period,” John Baines, Committee chairman said.

They decided against a Denton County survey because of time, money and interpretation issues, Baines said.

“We decided instead to have several public input opportunities,” Baines said. “That becomes our efforts to tap into the pulse of the people.”

Thursday night’s meeting was the third public input session. Baines started the proceeding by singing his song, “Learn to Walk in Others’ Shoes Now.”

Attendees who wished to speak had three minutes to share while those who didn’t could make a written comment. About 10 people were unable to speak due to time constraints.

The crowd at the public forum on January 18th. Many of them got up to speak in front of the committee about the status of the statue. Jacob Ostermann

Mayor Pro Tem Sara Bagheri suggested moving the monument to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) cemetery.

“The Confederate monument should be in a place that is solemn, quiet and a place of reflection,” Bagheri said. “The courthouse on the square was that place at one time. Unfortunately, it’s not that place anymore.”

Throughout the session, the crowd had audible reactions to different speakers. On a few occasions, Baines asked the audience to respect opinions even if they did not agree.

After the meeting, Baines said there was no way everyone would agree with the committee’s final recommendation.

“It’s not a win-win situation,” Baines said. “We are trying to do the best we can do. We are looking for the solution that is the very best for Denton and Denton County.”

Jackie Fuller, an Aubrey resident, said the statue should stay on the square. She thinks added content can be used for educational purposes.

“I believe in building up rather than tearing down,” Fuller said.  “I do believe we need to leave it.” 

The committee was formed in October and has had weekly meetings on Thursdays. They have talked to history experts, United Daughters of the Confederacy, the group that erected the statue, political activists and artists, committee members said.

The group will have met for three months before making a recommendation on Feb 1. Once they have made a recommendation, the commissioner’s court will make a decision on the statue.

There will be two more public sessions before the deadline for a recommendation. The final public forum will be from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the Stevens E. Copeland Government Center located at 1400 FM 425, Cross Roads, TX.

Baines said everyone on the committee is open-minded and fair and that he wants everyone’s voices to be heard.

“We want it to be a recommendation that comes from all of us,” Baines said. “We are not going to have 100 percent majority, I doubt that, but we will have a consensus from the 15 committee members.”

Featured Image: Members of the committee listen and take notes during the public forum. The committee will have a recommendation on February 1. Jacob Ostermann

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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