The governor of Virginia held a conference to announce the confirmation and plans for the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue located in the center of Monument Avenue.
What We Know:
- Governor Ralph Northam announced in his conference on Thursday that the monument of the Confederate leader Robert E. Lee will be removed and stored “as soon as possible”.
- “I am directing the department of general services to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee as soon as possible,” Northam said. “It will go into storage, and we will work with the community to determine its future.” Applause followed after he made this statement.
- The decision was made after Virginian protesters spray-painted the statue with words like “end police brutality” and “stop while supremacy” because of its history of racial injustice, which goes against the Black Lives Matter movement that has resurfaced after the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
- “In Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history. One that pretends the Civil War was about ‘state rights’ and not the evils of slavery no one believes that any longer,” Northam says.
- He continues, “And in 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on buying and selling of enslaved people…I want us all to tell the little girl the truth. Yes, the statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now. So, we’re taking it down.”
- According to CBS News in Virginia, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus agrees with the removal of the monument, saying it’s “a step in the right direction in the continued fight to address institutional racism, systemic disparities, and remaining vestiges of Jim Crow in our Commonwealth”.
Along with the removal of the monument, Northam proposed this year to legislation to let cities and counties decide what they want to do with monuments in their communities, which will take effect in a few weeks.