Remove the Vance Monument

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We respectfully petition the Mayor of the City of Asheville and members of Asheville City Council to remove the Vance Monument from Pack Square with as much expedience as possible. The monument looms large as a symbol of institutional racism from the past, and does not appropriately represent the values of the Asheville community today.  

The 50-foot Vance Monument was erected in 1896 to honor Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-1894), a Confederate military officer, twice NC Governor and U. S. Senator.

Besides being a slaveholder, during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War Zebulon Vance enacted policies to target African American communities, restrict their right to vote, hamper their ability to elect black officials, and diminish their access to education.

Discussions concerning the removal of the Vance Monument began in the 1970s, and intensified following the incidents centering on the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville, Virginia. Several cities have removed or are in the process of removing monuments which had originally been commissioned to glorify white supremacy and the oppression of African Americans. This week we've seen municipalities in Rocky Mount, NC; Richmond, VA; Indianapolis, IN; and Birmingham, AL remove monuments that no longer reflect the people who live there. 

The North Carolina General Statutes have a provision that a monument can be removed if it "poses a threat to public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition."

The symbolism of this monument and the physical presence it casts over Asheville are not safe conditions for anyone who believes that Black Lives Matter. Removal of the Vance Monument will be a symbol of progress towards racial justice and equality and a stronger community.