KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Although the ballot measure to remove the Andrew Jackson statues in Jackson County wasn't approved Tuesday, activists don't plan to give up until the statues are gone.
"I had hoped the legislator themselves would have removed it instead of dodging the issue and sending it to the voters," Rev. Branden Mims, senior pastor at the Greater Metropolitan Church of Christ, said.
That move resulted in 59% of voters – nearly 190,000 them – rejecting the idea to remove the Jackson statues from the downtown and Historic Truman courthouses. One of them vandalized during racial justice protests over the summer.
Activists like Mims have called for the removal because President Jackson was a slave owner and is notorious for the Indian Removal Act.
"Not only should the statue come down, but I also believe that the name of the county should come down," Mims said. "Why would we honor Andrew Jackson who never set foot in Missouri? He has no association to Missouri whatsoever."
However, those in favor, like Brandon Miller, don't see it that way.
"I mean, it’s part of history," Miller said, "whether it's good, whether it's bad, it's all taught... I think it's a lot more good than it has been bad that comes with it, but I think it should stay."
Jackson County Executive Frank White issued the following statement on Tuesday about the outcome of the ballot measure:
I am proud to have stood up and stood on behalf of a movement demanding fairness, justice and equality in Jackson County. I remain committed in my belief that the statues of a man who owned slaves, caused thousands of Native Americans to die and never stepped foot in our County should be removed from our public facilities. The statues are not an appropriate representation of who we are and who we strive to be as a community – a community that is welcoming, diverse and open-minded. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our democratic process, and while I may not always agree with the outcome, I believe there is something we can learn from every election. I look forward to engaging in more opportunities to eliminate racism and discrimination in Jackson County as we continue the fight for equal rights and justice for those we serve.
Mims said he hopes to bring up talks of removing the statues next time the Jackson County legislature meets.
"I think we go back to the ground game," Mims said. "I think we need to go back to getting signatures and petitions started. I think the process just needs to go on and the fight needs to continue."
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the results of the ballot measure to remove the Andrew Jackson statues. It has since been corrected.
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