Update on July 5, 2018: On July 2, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission recommended the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue from Monument Avenue and the addition of signage to the sites of the street’s four other statues honoring the Confederacy. The Commission's recommendations have been met with mixed reactions from local community members. In light of this, the ACLU of Virginia reissued the below statement.
The ACLU of Virginia has issued the following statement regarding Confederate monuments and memorials in the Commonwealth:
“Virginia’s monuments and memorials to Confederate war figures must go.
“Regardless of origin or historical context, today they are inciteful symbols of hatred and bigotry to which white supremacists are drawn like moths to a flame. The repulsive vitriol and penchant for violence of such individuals and groups are unwelcome in Virginia, and our communities should be able to decide for themselves that they no longer wish to harbor those symbols and invite future threats to public safety.
“This will be easier said than done. Here are the actions the ACLU of Virginia believes are necessary, and for which processes should be initiated immediately:
- “Amend Virginia Code Section 15.2-1812 to remove the prohibition upon localities from removing monuments for war veterans – including the “War Between the States” – that have been placed within their own borders;
- “Remove funds from the state budget that support care and maintenance of Confederate monuments and memorials on either public or private property; and
- “Initiate a public discussion of to where these monuments, once removed, should be relocated.
“Just as racially-motivated violence in Charleston, S.C., resulted in the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop that state’s capital building, Virginia should no longer support the display on public property of symbols that divide rather than unite, evoke white supremacy instead of equality, and inspire violence instead of peace.”