Removal of Confederate monuments in Virginia

Removal of Confederate monuments in Virginia

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Travis Ross started this petition to Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia General Assembly, Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond City Council

Monuments are intended to embody a community’s ideas and values, and in the most powerful of circumstances can become a community’s spirit incarnate of which to rally around.  Communities that build monuments are making a statement to others, to those both within and outside of their community, about which ideals are to be honored.  Confederate monuments pay tribute to a dark chapter in our country’s history; a time when African Americans particularly did not enjoy much if any freedom in this country.  Why should any community memorialize this ugly era with statues of Confederate leaders in public places like in its parks or along its roadways?  The ideals and values on display in Virginia’s streets, parks, and other public spaces should be reflections of our best-selves, and many of these public areas must be reclaimed and reformed into spaces for us to gather as a community without standing in the actual shadows of Jim Crow memorials masquerading as war monuments.

The intent of this petition is for all Confederate monuments in the State of Virginia to be removed and/or contextualized.  The City of Richmond should lead by example, remove Virginia’s most prominent Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue, and put them in a museum or similar institutional installment with context so that we may be able to learn from our past and continue to grow into a more perfect union.  Any contextualized monuments must include consultation from African American leaders within the community where the monument resides and must center on the perspective of the African American experience.  Any context provided should be in effort to tell the whole story of its history.  Furthermore, the community’s leaders are to choose an appropriate replacement structure to take the place of the current Confederate monuments so as to equally welcome all who visit Virginia’s public spaces.  Suggestions for quality replacement options in Richmond may be found in Richmond’s Monument Avenue Commission report on pages 32 and 33.

Virginia is home to more confederate monuments or memorials in public spaces than any other state with at least 223.  This is due in large part to its regional relevance during the civil war; Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy.  But this is also due to a state law enacted in 1904 which allows for localities to erect “monuments or memorials for any war or conflict” while simultaneously forbidding any authorities or citizens to disturb them.  This language was later clarified to explicitly include cities as “authorities” prohibited from removing them, resulting in the conundrum that we presently have today.  Only until a majority Democratic state government was elected in 2019 was any revision to this realistic, and in March 2020 legislation was passed that would allow for localities to remove these monuments.  This new law goes into effect July 1, 2020.

Many locales within Virginia (such as Richmond, Norfolk, and Charlottesville) have expressed a desire to remove the Confederate monuments erected during the Jim Crow era, but until just now they’ve lacked the legal authority to follow through with action.  Some localities with Confederate monuments have not yet expressed themselves similarly.  This is where you come in

Sign the petition to let it be known that your community leaders are expected to act!  Further, if you have a Confederate monument in your community (if you live in Virginia you likely do), I encourage you to contact your local community leaders and let them know that it should be removed.

Confederate monuments serve as rallying points for those that hold on to belief systems rooted in bigotry and racial supremacy, and do not embody the ideas or values of Richmond, Virginia, or the United States.  They were wrong when they were installed, and they are just as wrong today.  They have no place in our public spaces and THEY MUST COME DOWN!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!