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Cornelius News

NC Sen. Marcus, Mayor Washam will address ‘peaceful protest’ this evening

July 14. By Dave Yochum. NC Sen. Natasha Marcus and Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam will speak this evening at the “Take Down the Monument Peaceful Protest” in front of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius.

“It is time to acknowledge the inappropriateness of a public display that honors men who fought to keep African-Americans enslaved and who were willing to rip apart the United States of America in order to do so,” Marcus said.

The rally at the Confederate Monument begins at 6 pm and is expected to conclude at 7 pm. Other speakers include the new Ada Jenkins Center CEO Harold Rice; Temple Kol Tikvah Rabbi David Lipper; and Willie Jones, a member of the Unity in Community board.


The monument, which is not on Mt. Zion property, is one of the last Confederate monuments left standing in Mecklenburg County. It is owned and maintained by a private group called the Mt. Zion Monument Association.

Unity in Community, organized by Rev. Joel Simpson, former associate pastor at Mt. Zion, is a local, grass-roots effort that works to build relationships and improve racial equity. UIC was formed after the Charlottesville riots in August 2017.

With the nation once again engaged in a national discussion on Confederate monuments and what they mean today, the rally this evening is yet another turning point.

In June, Unity in Community urged the Monument Association “to proceed in due haste to do the right thing and take down the monument, freeing the community once and for all from this oppressive symbol of White Supremacy over our black brothers and sisters.”

Next, the co-senior pastors, Rev. Dr. Angela Marlowe and Rev. Jonathan Marlowe, spoke out as well, asking that the monument come down after 110 years.

They did so without the express backing of the church’s lay leaders, nor the regional governing body of the United Methodist Church.

Both happened in quick succession, helping set the stage for the protest and rally this evening that will include comments by 53-year organist and lifetime member of Mt. Zion—Mayor Washam.


To read the statement from the Extended Cabinet of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church statement, click here.

The Marlowes’ letter said they stand ready to assist the Mt. Zion Monument Association “as they go about the hard process of listening to their neighbors.”

The monument association, led by Statesville resident Donald Archer, said the association is exploring all “options available to protect and save this significant part of the history of Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina.”

The monument has been vandalized since, and cleaned. Three young men have been arrested.

Some local clergy are participating in the rally as well. Rev. Jerel Law, pastor of Love Lake Norman, said he “100 percent” supports the Marlowes and the church’s efforts to have the monument removed.

“It is long past time for it to come down. …We are capable of remembering and learning from our complicated Southern history without continuing to memorialize oppression and White Supremacy,” Law said.


Archer has not commented.

Other speakers tonight include: Lisa Mayhew-Jones, president of Smithville Community Coalition, and Aurrita Payne, Associate Minister, Torrence Chapel, AME Zion Church.

Marcus said Confederate monuments are hurtful and should be removed from places of reverence.

“I am grateful that our community is finally ready to take this step toward a more inclusive and respectful society,” said Marcus, who represents Cornelius and Davidson in the state senate.