On Wednesday evening, a prayer reverberated through downtown North Augusta.
Brandy Mitchell, organizer of Unify: North Augusta prayed through a megaphone while walking around the Meriwether Monument in North Augusta’s Calhoun Park, located at the intersection of Georgia and Carolina avenues.
“I pray that we would love our neighbor more than we love heritage. I pray that we would love our neighbor more than we love history,” she said during the prayer, which mentioned the monument, division in the world, racism, police brutality and more.
“Some of the things I prayed about are of course that the Lord would press upon the council’s heart to remove this monument, but also that we’d be unified as a nation, you know,” Mitchell said.
“Like I said in the spirit of MLK, I’m out here, I believe in the principles in which he centered upon, Christian principles, so I believe that it’s imperative for us to be calling for peace, calling for unity, but also to pray against racism, white supremacy and things that don’t belong in our community,” she said.
Mitchell and Unify: North Augusta want to see change regarding things like poverty, education and race issues. One of the things they want to see changed is the Meriwether Monument.
The monument uses racially divisive language to memorialize the one white man who died in the Hamburg Massacre. Seven black men died in the massacre too, but their names aren’t listed on the monument or anywhere in the park.
Around eight or nine people showed up alongside Mitchell on Wednesday evening and posted sticky notes onto the monument with reasons they believe it should be removed. A sign stating “All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter” was also temporarily affixed to the monument with a rope-like material.
“I grew up here,” one of the notes stated. “This is the only ugly thing in North Augusta. White supremacy has no place in my home town. This monument clearly represents that ideal. Take it down.”
Another stated: “This monument represents this false idea that whites are superior when we aren’t!”
Mitchell plans to pray at the monument every day and invite people to come and join her until City Council votes on the issue.
“No. 1, I think it’s important for us to come out here and have a presence,” she said.
“Some people may not be able to come out here every day, but I can provide an opportunity for them to come out here to read what’s on the monument, but also to be able to express themselves. So I just want to give that opportunity to people, and plus I feel there are just some things that you’ve got to pray about, there are somethings that you have to be consistently hammering the point,” she said.
The city of North Augusta has formed a committee tasked with deciding what should be added to the park. City Council has stated in a resolution that the Meriwether Monument should not be removed or altered.
More information about Unify: North Augusta can be found on a Facebook page under that name.