I can't say I was at all surprised by last night's decision to keep The South's Defenders Monument in place at the courthouse. However, I was truly pleased by the show of solidarity from allies who came out to give their opposition to the statue and the disapproval of it.

What does this mean now? Obviously, it shows nothing has really changed. The decision to keep the statue in place was following a vote of ten against and five for the removal. There was also a question of why not place this on a ballot and let the residents of Calcasieu Parish vote on it? It was explained this would have been very difficult to pass, which is what led to the police jury voting on this. Before the decision was made, several of the members spoke on how they felt about the statue and their decisions to have it moved to another location.We just didn't get enough to agree in order to make a change.

I feel like this is a sad day for the city. We have seen monuments being removed in other cities as well as flags being changed to reflect the current times. What was really troubling is that many just wanted it moved to another location, even a museum. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be have shown that, regardless of how it has been explained to be a sore place for many (and not just those in the Black community), it just didn't matter.

This is yet another example of why it's important for us to use our voices to be heard. We can protest, we can boycott. However, it all starts with the polls and making a change by voting on the ballots we are given. Now is not the time to say that our votes don't matter, as time and time again, history has, in fact, shown that they do.One of the most important questions to ask at a time like this is if our vote doesn't matter, why are factors put in place to make it hard for us to do so?

The elections are coming up, and if there are things you don't agree with, this is the time for you to speak out and vote. I hope I will see you at the polls this November. Let's be that change that we want.

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