The Town of Fort Mill has issued a statement following Monday’s sit-in demonstration in Confederate Park by two dozen protesters.
Demonstrators called for repeal of the S.C. Heritage Act and, ultimately, the park’s name changed along with several Fort Mill streets named after slaveholders and leaders of the confederacy.
Here is the Town’s statement, released by Public Relations Manager Chris Sardelli.
“The Town of Fort Mill has received comments from the community in regards to the tragic events that have occurred around our country and about our park on Main Street.
“As a Town, we have believed that we needed to listen to all that have commented, review our policies and to take any action to ensure that we are operating with fairness and compassion. There have been calls that have asked for the removal of the statues in the park and to change the name; and calls to leave the park intact as a nod to history and the heritage of the families listed there.
“Unfortunately, as a municipality in the State of South Carolina we are held to the law described as the Heritage Act. Without a two-thirds vote in the Legislature, we cannot alter, change nor remove the name nor statues in the park.
“The Town will continue to listen, review and evaluate all legal options to ensure the health and safety of our Town and to preserve the sense of community that sets us apart.”
A 24-page manifesto was also provided to the Town by an unnamed author with several other requests, according to WCNC.com. The author requests the town to release a statement on the history of white supremacy in Fort Mill and the Town’s “long position of leadership in this racist cause.” In addition, the author demands Mayor Guynn Savage lead the appointment of a commission to address this history and how it affects Fort Mill in 2020.
Additionally, the author demands the Town issue a report identifying every government-sponsored symbol of and monument to white supremacy within town limits and address the potential renaming and/or relabeling with additional historical context each of these symbols, along with the problems raised by the S.C. Heritage Act.