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Belton group calls for removal of Confederate statue from Bell County Courthouse lawn

Belton Citizens for Change hopes to get the statue removed this time around after other groups have failed to do so in the past. Other residents disagree.

BELTON, Texas — A controversial issue has resurfaced in Bell County. A new group called The Belton Citizens for Change is calling for commissioners to consider removing the Confederate statue that sits in front of the Bell County Courthouse.

The removal of the monument has been a hot topic for a long time. 

"I know the Confederacy just in general is kind of a touchy subject, but bottom line is, the statue means a lot of different things to different people," Jason McReynolds, organizer of the group, said. 

He said he spoke to commissioners about removing the monument a week before George Floyd died. He said he plans to meet with commissioners to ask them to get rid of the monument that sits on the northwest corner of the courthouse lawn. 

“It’s not necessarily a historical statue,” McReynolds said. “It is more of a statue designed to reinforce black oppression and the Jim Crow laws of the early 20th century.” 

But some think otherwise. 

"I don’t think it is correct because the statue was designed to honor the men of Bell County who went to war for their country. At the time they went to war their country was the Confederate States of America because Texas left the union,"John Perry said. 

John Perry is with the Bell County Citizens for Preserving Veteran's Memorials. In 2018 his group collected thousands of signatures to prevent the statue from being removed. 

"We got thousands of folks who want to keep the statue as it was.” Perry said. “We think there is overwhelming support from people in the county to keep the statue in place.” 

Three years ago, the Temple chapter of the NAACP started a movement to remove the monument, but was unsuccessful. 

"I feel like times have changed," McReynolds said. “And I hope there will be more support this time."

Bell County commissioners said the community is invited to a workshop to discuss their feelings about the statue on July 14. From there, commissioners will decide if the topic should go on agenda for their next meeting.

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