PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- Nathan Coflin never expected it to go viral. What was supposed to be a fun joke turned tables quick.
Coflin garnered massive attention after creating a petition to replace a Confederate monument in the town square of Portsmouth with a statue of hip hop star Missy Elliott.
But this unprecedented spotlight has encouraged him to take it a step further: turning into a reality.
"It's a good cause. Like who represents Portsmouth more than Missy?" Coflin said. "The ultimate goal is getting that monument up in Portsmouth. I think we have to do a little more planning and a little more legwork on our end."
Coflin says he wants to plan fundraising efforts, the statue design, where exactly it would be placed and how much it would cost before turning the petition over to Portsmouth city council members.
"It's a cause she's worthy of and it's a cause Portsmouth is worthy of," Coflin said.
However, he and his colleague, Clay Porter, say they can't further this grassroots effort without support.
Porter has been working in activism for seven years. He's advocated for a number of causes and has continuously worked with local groups, including Black Lives Matter.
"So we were thinking about reaching out to community leaders and specialists in their field," Porter stated. "Looking at individuals at Norfolk State, at ODU, at Virginia Wesleyan who can donate their time to help design the statue."
Coflin said he would love other Hampton Roads natives like Timbaland and Pharrell to come out and fundraise for the statue. They say this statue could put highlight Portsmouth in a unique way and attract visitors to the city.
Most of all, he wants this plan to be taken seriously by council members.
"We want to be heard fairly, we just want to have an open ear and given the respect to be heard seriously and I'll give them the respect by not wasting their time by presenting a serious plan," said Coflin.
Even though the petition has gained national attention, Coflin and Porter still need help.
Both are looking for volunteers, on both a local and national level, to give him insight and expertise on design and cost. And he still wants as many signatures and as much support as possible.
And they want you to connect with them.
Reach out to them on Twitter. Both their Twitter handles are below:
Nathan Coflin: @NathanKnope
Clay Porter: @seeCAPrun
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