Locals react to Northam’s plan to announce Robert E. Lee statue removal

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam is expected to make an announcement Thursday that the Robert E. Lee statue along Richmond’s Monument Avenue will be removed from its pedestal.

The Associated Press cited a senior Northam administration official in regards to the governor’s pending announcement—indicating the statue would be stored during discussions about a potential new location. 

The likeness of the Confederate commander has been defaced over recent days as protests continue in Richmond.

For Jahshya Johnson, it’s high-time Lee is out of sight.

“To have statues that glorify oppression and the people that live in this community have to look about every day, how are they supposed to feel and say ‘yup. America?’” Johnson asked.

George Hostetler and Janet Heltzel live nearby and say a placard to contextualize the statue should be present instead of taking it down, and a response from the governor over recent events should be different.

“Removing any Confederate statue does not solve the problem of racism,” Hostetler said. “Racism resides within our hearts.”

“I would like to see him have statewide, mandatory policing guidelines,” Heltzel said.

Ashley Kipps believes the presence of Confederate statues are problematic.

“They set the tone for others around our city to perceive our space, and our city and our community as a place where those beliefs and those ideals, that these statues represent, are condoned,” Kipps said.

Andy Stefanovich, a Richmond resident, says history should be preserved but moving the Lee statue is a good idea.

“It should be moved so that it can be given the context that it needs, so that it doesn’t have the affect or the ability to offend anyone in today’s society,” Stefanovich said.

If Governor Northam does make an announcement Thursday, it is expected to come during an 11 a.m. press conference.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and City Councilman Mike Jones said they plan to introduce a city ordinance on July 1 to bring down the Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue that the city maintains.

On Wednesday, the Mayor of the Town of Crewe sent a letter to Governor Northam and Mayor Stoney requesting they send the Monument Avenue war memorials to his town.

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