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First Coast Connect

8/14/2017: Charlottesville Reaction; Connectable Jax; Cole Pepper

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we heard local reaction to Saturday’s deadly attack on protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and about a movement to get Confederate monuments removed in Jacksonville with Ben Frazier from the Jacksonville Northside Coalition and activist Matt Killen from Take Em Down Jax (01:03). We hear about the launch of Connectable Jax with Susan Edelman, vice president of communications at the Community Foundation, and Susan Bell, whose daughter Megan has Down syndrome and is featured in the campaign (32:32). And Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news (41:47).  

Charlottesville Reaction

Dozens of demonstrators came out to Memorial Park in Riverside Sunday night for a candlelight vigil in support of the victims who were mowed down in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday, by a man who crashed his car into a crowd counter-protesting the “Unite the Right” rally. The protesters included white supremacists, many of whom chanted Nazi slogans like “Sieg Heil,” and carried Confederate flags and Nazi swastika. They were marching in Charlottesville because a statue there of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee is set to be removed next month. Within 48 hours of the rally and deadly attack in Charlottesville, Jacksonville activists were calling for City Council to act to remove Confederate symbols and statues here. While no specific legislation is currently before the council, the idea of removing Confederate monuments has been prompting passionate public comment since 2015, when Confederate symbolism started being removed across the South in response to a white supremacist’s murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

Connectable Jax

A new campaign is designed to create more meaningful, positive engagements – “connections” – within the Northeast Florida community with people who have intellectual and developmental differences, or IDDs. Connectable Jax started because its funder, Delores Barr Weaver, noticed people in Northeast Florida often focus on the “disabilities” rather than what people with IDDs are able to bring to the community.

Cole Pepper

The Jaguars practiced for the first time Sunday in their indoor facility. The Florida Gators suspended seven players for their opener against Michigan for violating team rules. The Jumbo Shrimp are wrapping up their homestand, while the Atlantic Beach Suns won the national championship of the Cal Ripken League but lost the international championship to Japan.   

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.