(Re)Construct American Monuments to Honorable Memories: Funding to Honor Freedom's Heroes
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Currently we still have well over 700 Confederate monuments throughout the United States, yet there are far fewer anti-slavery monuments dedicated to abolitionists, Union soldiers, freedom fighters, and African American historic figures. In addition, thousands of graves in segregated cemeteries across the country have fallen into disrepair and neglect.
As a high school history teacher, it is troubling for me to explain to my students that although the battle against slavery ended in a victory for freedom, as a nation we have chosen to more fully commemorate those who fought against it.
- We believe as a nation we should all stand behind an effort to more fully memorialize those who struggled to make us a truly free nation.
- We believe an effort to federally fund a program to recognize and memorialize those American heroes who fought to make us a free nation would send a message of unity badly needed at this time.
- We believe a bipartisan commission should be created to discuss and determine what memorials could be constructed and where those memorials can be built.
- We believe Federal legislators and the nation's governors should unite to make this commission carry out it's goals in a fair and equitable manner.
- We believe that the commission can work together with the nation's businesses and philanthropists to help in the funding of this project.
- We believe that federal funds should be committed to help states maintain neglected African American cemeteries throughout the nation.
- By joining together across the Congressional aisle in support of these initiatives, we could help to heal those still open wounds.
In the very same speech where President Lincoln spoke the famous and still relevant words: "A house divided against itself cannot stand," he went on to proclaim "...we know, that a man may rightfully be wiser to-day than he was yesterday -- that he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong. But can we, for that reason, run ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change, of which he, himself, has given no intimation? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inference?"
What courageous Action for Change can we hope for from our leaders in Washington DC to bridge the divide that has once again opened up in our nation? An action such as we ask of you here could continue to cultivate the seeds of unity that long ago brought us together as one nation.
We ask of all of you: our President, leaders of both houses of Congress, and the leadership of the National Governors Association to grant this request.
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