SWFL sounds off on Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Fort Myers

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Police are keeping a close watch over Southwest Florida’s most polarizing statue as tensions continue to build around it.

On Monday night, many voiced their opposition to the Robert E. Lee statue that sits in downtown Fort Myers.

“It is a symbol of racism. It’s a symbol of white supremacy. And it’s a symbol of something un-American,” said Bryan Infante.

Infante is part of a group of FGCU students who think the confederate general should be moved off of public property.

“Too many times we have seen the public, the people remain silent in times of injustice. This here is still an injustice. The statue of Robert E. Lee is a symbol of injustice on people of color,” Infante said.

But some of those who support the movement to keep the statue where it is says Infante has it all wrong.

“I did not like the opposition—the things they were saying,” said Darlene Izzo. “It’s unfortunate that I feel that some college students have not completely learned their history.”

“The war was over money. It was not over racism,” Izzo added.

Now, many are turning to the city council to resolve the dispute. But Councilman Fred Burson says he’s not sure it’s within their jurisdiction.

“It’s a lot of talk for nothing when you’re coming in front of the city of Fort Myers council because we don’t have the authority to do it. It’s up to the county commission because they’re the ones who own it,” Burson said.

So for the time being, the debate continues to rage on.

“It’s in my hopes and prayers that our mayor of the town and our councilmen will go back and will not want to erase the history of Lee County, Florida,” Izzo said.

“I would like to see the elected leadership here in Fort Myers be on the right side of history,” Infante countered.

The city council did not vote Monday night about the statue’s fate, and has no plans to in the immediate future.

(A sticker handed out during Monday’s meeting below)


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