Charlottesville Destroys More History

Last Monday night, the Charlottesville City Council unanamously voted to remove two Confederate statues from the city’s public parks. Now citizens have thirty days to come up with new plans for the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. “According to city documents, Charlottesville is requesting proposals  for any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the Statues, or either of them, for relocation and placement.”

https://localnews8.com/news/2021/06/08/charlottesvilles-confederate-statues-coming-down-nearly-four-years-after-violent-rally/

PUSH TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE  STATUES IN CHARLOTTESVILLE BEFORE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF  DEADLY RALLY 

By: Jessie Cohen 

Jun 22, 2021 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Advocates in  Charlottesville, Virginia are working to remove the  city’s Confederate statues before the four-year  anniversary of the deadly rally later this summer.  This comes after the City Council unanimously voted  to remove the statues. 

Zyahna Bryant, a young activist and change  maker, has been trying to make this happen for the  last five years. She authored the original petition to  take down the Robert E. Lee Statue in 2016. 

“These statues are a part of a physical landscape  that reinforces some of these underlying notions of  slavery, bondage and what it means to be deserving  of humanity,” Bryant said. “When I see those  statues, it reminds me of an incomplete history.” 

Kristin Szakos, a former City Council member says this time, the vote is even more important. 

”We’ve been here before. When I was on council, we also voted to remove the statues. Having been  here before, I’ll celebrate when the statues are  down,” Szakos said. “In Charlottesville, at this  moment, it’s particularly important because we  have had violence around these statues. We’ve had  hundreds of white supremacists and Nazis come  into town to defend those statues.” 

This year, both a Virginia Supreme Court ruling  and a law passed in the legislature cleared the way  for the city of Charlottesville to remove the  Confederate statues. 

“Folks in Charlottesville worked really hard with  folks from all over the commonwealth to change that  law,” Szakos said. 

Bryant is one of those people. 

“The August 11th and 12th rallies happened and I  recognize that a lot of people were trying to protect  this image of Charlottesville that did not exist,”  Bryant said. “People are starting to see why they  need to come down and it’s sad, in my opinion, that  it took a rally where someone lost their life for  people to come to that realization.” 

Szakos says she first brought the statues up in  council in 2012 and says even then, it was long  overdue. 

“It’s actually been 100 years because there were  people when the Jackson statue first went up in  1921 who said it shouldn’t be there,” Szakos said. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center started tracking  how many symbols of the Confederacy were located  in public spaces following the Charleston shooting in  2015. That’s when a white man killed nine Black  people during a church bible study. After the  Charlottesville rally, they started gathering input  from the community. 

“We have over 2,000 now, so we started at 1,500  but community member have uncovered even  more,” said Lecia Brooks, the SPLC Chief of Staff. 

Brooks says in 2020, 94 of the 168 symbols that  were removed were confederate monuments; 71 were in Virginia, 24 in North Carolina, and 12 each  in Texas and Alabama. 

“So, as we make great strides in removing some  of these symbols from public space, we’re finding  that there are more and more,” Brooks said. But Lecia does recognize the change seen in states  rooted in the confederacy. 

“Virginia has done, I mean, a complete 360 post the unite the right rally,” Brooks said. 

Bryant doesn’t want this momentum to stop at the  statues. 

“I don’t think that it should stop once the statues  are down because again the statues are only the tip  of the iceberg,” Bryant said. “We also have the  opportunity to rewrite the textbooks. We have the  opportunity to create new resources for people to  learn from.” 

From housing to healthcare to education and  more, she says there is so much to tackle. “I feel very confident that this is the turn to a new  Charlottesville and to a new central Virginia and to  a new country overall, but I think that there will be  no real progress and no real healing reconciliation  until there is the redistribution of resources an until  there is true equity,” Bryant said. 

https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/push-to-remove-confederate-statues-in-charlottesville-before-fourth-anniversary-of-deadly-rally

 

J.D.R. Hawkins

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