Protest calls for removal of Confederate statue
You're taking a live look at the confederate statue outside the madison county courthouse.
Dozens of people showed up on the courthouse steps tonight - once again demanding the monument be moved.
Many of those protestors wore masks to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus.
The gathering comes as the number of cases increases in north alabama and across the state.
Tonight -- there are more than 16,600 cases in the region.
More than 23-hundred of those came within the past week.
There are more than 83- thousand cases state-wide.
Thank you for joining us tonight -- i'm dan shaffer.
Najahe sherman has the night off.
We begin with a renewed call for action in huntsville - just hours after the country celebrated the life of a civil rights icon born in alabama.
Waay 31's will robinson smith was at the protest in downtown huntsville.
He spoke to members of greek organizations, collectively known as "the divine nine," about the future of the monument - and how the past works of representative john lewis inspired them.
That group is made up of the nine historically black fraternities and sororities.
They say there's no reason why the madison county commission can't take action to relocate the statue now.
We believe in change!
It is time for a change!
And this needs to go!
The energy brought to the madison county courthouse thursday evening was squarely aimed at the confederate monument next to the steps.
If that's still there a hundred years from now, that will continue to tell people that it's ok, as a matter of fact, it's celebrated when you oppress people that look like us.
The members of the divine nine marched around the courthouse together, before coming back to the steps to call for change.
Folks like ronald childress say they're disappointed there still isn't a plan of action in place from the county commission.
Ronald childress, president, delta theta lamda chapter, alpha phi alpha fraternity inc.
Why haven't they came out and said, ok, here's our course of action, here's some of the things that we're looking at, so that then we don't have to continue to come up here because we're hearing from all of the city leaders on what their plan is.
Earlier this month, madison county commission chairman dale strong received a letter from the committee on alabama monument protection saying local leaders would have to work with the alabama attorney general's office if they want to move the statue to another location.
We reached out to both the a-g's office and strong's office for updates today and are waiting to hear back.
Bernard simelton shares a fraternity with the late john lewis, the troy, alabama native who fought for civil rights, a crusade he continued in the us house of representatives until his death earlier this month.
Simelton says today's call for action honors the life's work of the man who was buried in georgia today.
Bernard simelton, phi beta sigma fraternity this is a fitting tribute to him because the only way we're going to get that statue removed is to vote to overturn the memorial preservation act in the state of alabama legislature.
However, state representative laura hall says making that happen is unlikely with the current makeup of the legislature.
She says it would be far easier for huntsville and madison county to follow in the footsteps of cities like birmingham and mobile.
Laura hall, district 19 they can do an mou with the attorney general and pay the fine.
That's what mobile did.
So there's no reason why we could not have the same thing happen here in madison county.
The madison county progressive alliance was also out here tonight to remind city and county leaders that 25-thousand dollars has already been collected to pay the fee for removing the statue from the courthouse.
Reporting live in huntsville, will robinson-smith, waay 31 news.