Hollywood officials to make final vote on removal of Confederate street names

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - City of Hollywood officials are scheduled to make an official vote on the potential removal of several street names named after Confederate soldiers and a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

With the final decision hours away, protesters gathered outside of Hollywood City Hall to voice their support for and against the removal of the street names.

The streets in question are Hood Street, Forrest Street and Lee Street, named after Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Nathan Bedford Forrest was also the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Heard among the protesters was the debate of hate versus heritage, with those in favor of removing the names stating the streets glorify those who fought for slavery and bring up the negative feelings associated with the Civil War.

“We’re hoping for a good vote. We’re hoping that the seven commissioners vote yes because this must happen,” said Carlos Valnera, who is in support of the signs being changed. “The hate from Virginia has to be stomped out. We need to stand up for the good guys. The communities of color need to be acknowledged. This historical indignity is outrageous.”

“There should be no symbols of them in Hollywood, Florida or in general,” said Tiffany Burks. “They should come down.”

On the flip side, those against the removal of these signs state that the names are part of American history and should be remembered for their historical value.

“Maybe creating something there that gives a little more explanation to people, that allows them to understand why this is not only important to me, but why it should be important to everybody,” said Sandy Mendez, who wants the signs to remain. “It’s part of my wife’s history, it’s part of all our history. Sometimes history’s not pretty, and we have to learn to get past that.”

Back in June, a similar protest was held when talks of removing the signs first arose.

Although the protest had been peaceful so for the most part, one man, Chris Monzon, was arrested for disorderly conduct, aggravated assault and inciting a riot.

Video shows what appears to be Monzon charging into the crowd.

Monzon was earlier seen protesting against the removal of the signs while carrying a flag with half the Confederate design on one half and a black X on a white field on the other.

7News spoke to Monzon before the incident.

“What they want is to cleanse our history, to remake this country into what they want it to be,” said Monzon.

City commissioners are expected to meet at 4 p.m.

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