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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Protest organizers in West Michigan are demanding the removal of Civil War Statue in Allendale

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The statue shows two soldiers back to back – one is a Union soldier holding a United States flag and the other is a Confederate soldier holding a Confederate flag. At their feet is a Black child holding a sign that reads “Freedom to Slaves”.

Faith Kuipers lives in Allendale and is organizing Saturday’s protest.

“A Confederate soldier isn’t something you should make a statue of and neither is a slave.”

A few weeks ago, the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists asked the Allendale Township board to take down the statue, which they say is highly offensive in how it portrays Black people and how it puts Confederate soldiers on a pedestal.

At the Allendale Township Board of Trustees Meeting on Monday evening, board members said they want to keep the statue in the park because of its historical significance.

During the meeting’s public comment, dozens of residents voiced their opinion about the statue -- most in support of keeping it. Kuipers says she doesn’t believe it’s a fair representation of the people of Allendale.

“One of the reasons for the protest is to raise awareness for that meeting to have more young people show up to this meeting and more people of color because the only person of color at the last meeting was a reporter and there weren’t any young people there either.”

The board will hold a meeting Tuesday to vote on a resolution keeping the statue in the park. Kuipers says the protest will be peaceful and take place at the Allendale Community Park in the Veterans Garden of Honor, Saturday from 1-4pm.