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Please pledge your support to abolish the "holiday" Lee-Jackson Day which honors Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. In addition to other Southern states and cities, this day, usually celebrated on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day, is observed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For example, at the websites of the City of Suffolk, City of Norfolk and City of Chesapeake, there are announcements about the closing of government offices in observance of Lee-Jackson Day.
Similar to the global dialogue sparked by Confederate statues in Charlottesville, Va. and elsewhere, glorifying Confederate generals who fought for slavery and the oppression of others with an annual holiday has no place in 2018 and the years ahead. Continuing to uphold this holiday not only symbolically, but literally perpetuates hate, racism and divisiveness.
Ironically, Martin Luther King Day and Lee-Jackson Day are celebrated within a few days of one another, but the values and principles of these men could not be further apart. King stood for hope and human rights of all people. Lee and Jackson, for white supremacy and economic gain, enslaved and exploited a race of people.
As a Northerner, I never heard of Lee-Jackson Day until I moved to Virginia. There are many positives about Virginia, but these antiquated ideals from centuries ago, that some people still hold onto, fuel cultural tensions and division in modern life today.
Removing Lee-Jackson Day will help evolve Virginia with social justice. Failing to do so, like pending too long with an appropriate means to address the multiple Confederate statues on Monument Ave. in Richmond, sends a strong message to Virginia natives and those considering relocation to the state. The message is "we're not progressive" and the ideologies that worked for some of our forefathers centuries ago are what we want to sustain in the 21st century.
To meaningfully embrace all residents, prospective residents and visitors to Virginia, you can't deliberate on the Confederate statues and not take action on the Lee-Jackson Day holiday and other areas where the Confederate heroes are celebrated.
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