Charlottesville Finally Removes Confederate Statue That Sparked Fatal Rally
Charlottesville has voted to remove two Confederate statues from the city’s parks following years of campaigning.
The statues of General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson played a key part in the 2017 Unite the Right rally, which ended with Heather Heyer being killed after a neo-Nazi drove his truck into the crowd of counter-protesters.
Following the fatal incident, the city planned on removing the controversial statues, but several people sued the Virginia city in a bid to block the statues being taken down.
Despite their efforts, The Supreme Court ruled in April that the city could removed the statues, overturning a circuit court’s 2017 decision to allow the statues to remain.
Advocates argued that having Confederate general statues pays tribute to the US’s history of slavery and racism.
Work began today, July 10, to remove the statues. At the time of writing, it’s thought the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been removed, with the one of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson to follow.
The vote took place on Monday, July 5, and passed unanimously. Following the vote, residents were given 30 days to decide where the statues should be moved to – a museum, for example.
The city 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’, CNN reports.
Until a new home is found for the statues, they will remain in storage, according to The Guardian.
Brian Wheeler, director of Communications for the City of Charlottesville, described the statues’ removal as a ‘major step’ for the city.
He said in a statement to CNN:
We look forward to transforming our downtown parks by removing these racist symbols of Charlottesville’s past. There remains much work to be done in Charlottesville’s future as we work towards the goals of racial and economic justice, but this is an important milestone in that journey.
Charlottesville resident and community leader Don Gathers also said of Monday’s vote, ‘It was the manifestation of many, many years of work by a vast number of extraordinary people in the community. The next step now is the actual removal. The process needs to be smooth, seamless and expeditious.’
‘No other locality should ever have to endure the evilness that they represent. They should be destroyed – melted down. Followed by a ritualistic cleaning of the area they’ve dominated for so long,’ he added.
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