Two Groups With Different Agendas Meet On Main Street In Lexington

Two Groups With Different Agendas Meet On Main Street In Lexington

12:40pm Jun 29, 2020
Marchers in support of the area's first responders pass a group protesting Lexington's Confederate statue on the corner of Main and Central streets Saturday, June 27. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

Lexington’s Main Street was busy this weekend with the sounds of protesters and rally-goers making their voices heard for causes that spanned the political spectrum.

About 200 people marched to support Davidson County’s emergency first responders, many of them carrying American and Blue Lives Matter flags. The march covered several blocks — from the city’s police station on Main St. in Uptown Lexington to the fire department headquarters on E. Central St.  — in a show of support for local police, firefighters, and EMTs.

Mitch Garmer put the rally together. He’s a Winston-Salem firefighter who lives in Davidson County. He says he wanted to thank those who put themselves at risk to keep others safe. 

“I wanted to prove that there’s people that can come together out here, even though there are disagreements in the community. I wanted to prove that people from all backgrounds can get together and support their first responders,” he says.

Garmer says he wasn’t trying to make a counterprotest against the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have occurred across the country, including in Lexington.

The march was dedicated to the memory of Richard Montgomery, a Davidson County Rescue Squad member who died in April while on a medical emergency call.

While marching, the group passed another gathering on Main Street, those who want the city’s Confederate monument peacefully removed.

Dymond Robinson is one of a group of three organizers — all recent graduates of Lexington High School — who have gathered regularly in the town’s square arguing that the monument shouldn’t have such a prominent place in the city.

“We are not asking for the statue to be taken down and destroyed, that is one thing that we need to make very clear,” she says. “We’re not asking for a violent removal. All we are asking is that it’s taken off Main Street, because it being on Main Street glorifies what it signifies.”

Robinson and other organizers want the statue moved to the county museum, which is right across the street, or to a cemetery.

Faith Shuman, another organizer, says she has filed an online petition asking the city to have it removed. She also says she wants the memorial taken down legally and peacefully.  

She says she’s planning to talk to city leaders about the petition next month.

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