The Black Empowerment Organization on Monday will formally ask the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors to remove the Confederate monument in front of the Courthouse, they announced on Friday along with a national activist organization.

The group will “call on the Supervisors to move to eliminate symbols of the Confederacy by removing the Confederate monument located on public property in front of the Neshoba County Courthouse,” a release from organizer Tiffon Moore emailed to the Democrat said.

“Despite opposition to the removal of this monument — which includes death threats, false arrests and cross burnings — BEO is calling on community members to support their petition, or call or send an email to their board member.”

Philadelphia Detective Bobby Pattillo said they have no reports of death threats or cross burnings. Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark could not be reached.

Moore said they showed police social media posts with guns and bullets. Moore said they have talked to someone who saw a cross burning around Sandtown.

As for the false arrest, Moore said she was talking about a June 6 incident where a Philadelphia man was arrested 45 minutes after participating in a protest parade on June 6 after police said he was driving recklessly on St. Francis Drive and failed to stop for police before leading them across town and finally stopping on Donald Avenue at Ivy Street, according to Philadelphia Police Chief Julian Greer.

There were social media accusations he was being harassed and a large crowd gathered before police left. Greer said in June the stop was unrelated to the protest.

BEO’s petition on Change.org had 549 signatures on Friday. Having initially identified with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the George Floyd police killing in Minneapolis in May the group’s purpose is to “Unify, strengthen, and empower All people, especially Black people within the Philadelphia Neshoba County Community, surrounding counties, and within our great state of Mississippi,” according to their Facebook page created on July 2.

The following statement is from the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund Mississippi Policy Director Brandon Jones that Moore released Friday as well:

“For more than 100 years, the Confederate statue that sits in front of the Neshoba County Courthouse has served as a living symbol of white supremacy, erected to glorify those who fought to keep Black people enslaved and intimidated.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group, which tracks anti-government extremist groups, said In a release on Friday:

“What’s more insulting is that this particular Confederate monument evokes memories of the three murdered civil rights workers – Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney – who were buried in a local earthen dam in 1964 and the continued fight for racial equality and justice in this town and across the state.

“The Neshoba County Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to do the right thing by removing this dehumanizing and oppressive symbol from Philadelphia’s public space. Doing so would honor the city’s current values and people instead of dwelling in its separate but equal past.

“The BEO has long advocated for this monument’s removal from Philadelphia’s public space and the SPLC Action Fund supports them. The BEO’s protests for equity have been met with threats of violence, death, false arrests and cross burnings. These actions underscore the systemic racial bias that has existed in this country since well before the Civil War was lost, and has no place in a modern, civilized society.

“We join BEO and concerned members of the Philadelphia community in calling on the Supervisors to embrace the city’s shared and diverse future by removing this inhumane and brutal symbol of the past.”

BEO has been pushing for “more representation in our local communities and our local governments, also on the county districts and different things like that,” Moore said in June. “If we have people who represent our ideas, then we can actually push to have legislation and implement some of the things that we feel like are important to us, especially when it comes to sentencing disparities.”

Mayor James A. Young at a BEO rally on June 30 called for “one Philadelphia” and prayed a prayer of peace and unity.

He encouraged the young people to get an education because that can’t be taken away and it allows young people to be who “God has called you to be.”

“We pray a prayer of peace in our country, in our cities all over this land,” he began. “We pray a prayer of love and unity for all that hear our voice.”

“We thank you, oh God, for letting us be an example of peaceful protest, which is a Constitutional right that has been given us. We say thank you right now!”