ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 TODAY) — A group of moms, called MAR, Mom’s Against Racism, are coming together to ask state leaders to have the name of Confederate Park in Rock Hill changed to Liberty Park.
They say this will make the park inclusive and show all are welcome.
Natasha McNeil of York County started the group after watching the video of George Floyd’s death.
“Hearing this grown black man scream out for his mom saying mama. I immediately turned the television off and reached out to mothers who are just like me and said did you hear that? There’s a group of us who came together as moms and wanted to make sure this is something that wasn’t repeated, says Natasha.
Natasha adds, “Mom’s Against Racism started with a group of moms that wanted to come together and unify our parenting skills and combat racism and make sure we teach anti -racism within our household so we are doing the work starting at home”, says Natasha.
The group has more than 2,000 members on Facebook, all coming together to learn from each other and combat racism in their community.
One of their missions, to have the name of Confederate Park in Rock Hill changed to Liberty Park.
“names are important and what are we trying to say to our community and children when we have a park that’s named Confederate Park”, says MAR group member, Christine Montes.
The group is planning a peaceful protest for Friday, June 19th at 5 PM at Confederate Park. The event is call an Anti-Picnic. Social distancing will be in place and the group is encouraging everyone to wear a mask. They are asking all moms to bring their families, blankets, baskets and dinner.
“Even today it is hard for me to understand how me as a black mom and my black kids should be comfortable in a park where in 1923 when it was called Confederate Park I couldn’t sit here and have a picnic with people who didn’t look like me and my kids couldn’t come here in 1923 and play with kids on the basketball court with kids who didn’t look like them. So here we are today with the liberty to choose our friends and to embrace each other and here we have no room for racism so its evidently we should have the liberty to play comfortably in an inclusive park that should be named Liberty Park”, says Natasha.
Johnika Joseph has a 13 year old son.
“Although it’s probably never been mentioned, its very uncomfortable to be in a park that reminds us of such an ugly past. That’s why its so important to me so that when my son comes here we’re no reminded of the negatively”, says Johnika.
There are two petitions going around to have the name of Confederate Park changed to Liberty Park.
Together nearly 4 thousand people have signed. CN2 reached out to Rock Hill city leaders. They say the South Carolina Heritage Act specifically prevents name changes like this and the city says there’s nothing they can do under state-law.
Changing the law would require a two thirds vote by the general assembly.
Those with Moms Against Racism say they’ve reached out to state leaders and plan to present their request.
You can follow Mom’s Against Racism on Facebook.