CASS COUNTY, Neb. —
There’s a neighborhood showdown over a yard statue in Cass County, Nebraska.
A woman calls it racist but said her neighbor refuses to remove it.
Ciara Szczepaniak said she can’t get over something she calls ugly in her new neighborhood.
“So when we were moving, we didn’t notice it. And then when the Black Lives Matter protests started, that’s when I first noticed it,” Szczepaniak said.
It’s a statue of a young Black boy on her neighbor’s porch.
“It’s painted cartoonish and with big red lips. And it’s not a flattering statue,” Szczepaniak said.
She said she asked her neighbor to remove it and educated him about its racial history.
She said he told her it was staying put, then added to it.
“So adding the cotton, I’m actually thankful that he did, because he made the intent pretty clear and obvious. And so that gave me enough courage to go up and try again,” Szczepaniak said.
Szczepaniak said she asked her neighbor if she could buy the statue so she could get rid of it.
She said he told her it’d be $1,000, so she started a GoFundMe and posted it on Facebook.
A man claiming to be the owner of the statue appears to respond to a post about it by Szczepaniak, saying “You really think I would give you my statue for $1,000? Your (sp) crazy. There is nothing racist about it. If you clowns would mind your own business I wouldn’t have added the Cotton (sp) plant. My statue isn’t going anywhere and I’m a 2nd amendment supporter I suggest none of you trust pass (sp).”
Szczepaniak said that post is from the statue’s owner.
“A very long time ago it was maybe a symbol of hope for people who were not free. But today, it’s extremely clear that it’s offensive,” Szczepaniak said.
She said the final straw was when her son and clients who visited her home began asking about it. She said neighbors told her even more about the owner’s history with it.
“He has posed with it with watermelon before,” Szczepaniak said.
The statue’s owner did not want to talk to us on camera or identify himself.
Szczepaniak hopes this educates others, that these statues belong in history museums, not someone’s front yard.
“I think that it’s important to speak up and educate others and get this kind of stuff out,” Szczepaniak said.
“I understand that some people may argue that the history of it was at one time positive, then that should be told in a museum. The main thing is that this is not normal, and we’re going to keep it not normal.”