Ronald Rawls, Jr. brought a domestic terrorist hate organization into St Augustine as surely as if he had resurrected Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Party or the Knights of the Klan.
Rawls, the Gainesville pastor who travels to St Augustine to work at St Paul’s AME Church, made public ultimatums to city officials last August demanding that the Confederate monument in the Plaza de la Constitutión be taken down.
The City held a public meeting August 28th in which Rawls made a three-word-demand on St Augustine’s mayor, vice-mayor, and city manager — “remove them now”. When the public spoke during the meeting, some spoke in favor and some against the monument.
Attendees at the meeting presented the results of two facebook polls; only 781 supporters had signed the petition to remove the monuments “Take down St Augustine’s confederate statues”; whereas the petition to keep the monuments “Please don’t erase our history in St Augustine” had already been signed by 8,702 supporters.
The City Manager commenced a study of what other cities have done about their civil war historic markers, and later recommended that the city not remove the obelisk. The commission voted unanimously 5-0 to keep the memorial to soldiers who died in the Civil War, but also add “context” to better explain the complex history surrounding it at a meeting held October 23, 2017.
When Rawls realized that he did not get his way, he began race-baiting the media and polling out-of-town resistance organizations to bolster the few local supporters who were not satisfied with the decision. His latest effort has been to enlist aid from the New Black Panther Party. A representative from that organization marched with Rawls during his disruptive protest during the Light Up Night ceremony. According to a report received by Historic City News, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, all consider the New Black Panthers to be a hate group.
Rawls next announced strike is planned to run simultaneously with the Monday, January 22, 2018 City Commission meeting. Protesters are being told to assemble outside the meeting where they will picket and protest, chanting loudly enough to be disruptive to the business meeting going on inside City Hall.