BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - A group of Central Texans gathered in downtown Belton Sunday evening to protest police brutality and call for the removal of a Confederate statue that stands outside the Bell County courthouse.
It symbolizes a history of hate and racism,” said organizer Patrick Arryn.
The statue has been sitting in downtown Belton for more than a century, being placed in 1916.
Arryn says while the statue represents history to some, to him, it represents the side of history that should not be glorified.
“Uncomfortable conversations need to be had about this,” he said.
“People need to understand the effect that this statue has on everyone and what it stands for.”
Others at the protest claimed it was a symbol of heritage, not slavery.
“If they want to move it, I’m open to it,” said Stephen Cole.
“As long as they don’t take it down for good and leave it to the people to vote, that’s all that I care about.”
With protestors on both sides, those in attendance called for conversations to be respectful.
“Not only are adults here but children are as well,” said Holly Carr.
“They want that change and they have the right to feel safe.”
Voter registration tables and a petition for the removal or transfer of the statue were available for people to sign.
Arryn says he was happy for those who participated, but more work needs to be done.
“I’m so proud that people are being bold and courageous,” he said.
“They stand for unity and love and that’s all we need right now. Nothing will be solved with violence.”
The petition will soon be presented to the Bell County Commissioners Court at a workshop on July 14th. The public is invited to discuss their thoughts on the issue.