Richmond City Council members address effort to remove Confederate statues on Monument Avenue

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is asking for the removal of all the Confederate monuments on Monument Avenue.

“Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy,” Stoney said during a Thursday morning press conference.

Following Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement to remove the Robert E. Lee statue, the removal of the four other Confederate monuments will be up to City Council.

“It’s not because of Mayor Stoney. It’s not because of Mike Jones. It’s not because of City Council. Our grandparents, our great grandparents lived in the shadow of these atrocities,” said City Councilman Michael Jones of Richmond’s South Central District.

Jones has been vocal in the past about his support for the statues’ removal.

“That’s the community I know. That’s the community I want to listen to. That’s the community I will listen to. Black, white, brown, all together in unity,” said Jones.

Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch agrees with Jones.

“We have to take a hard look at the symbols in our own backyard and how they impact the tone and culture of the community,” said Lynch.

Other community members say that taking down the statues is ripping out a part of history. Jones believes the monuments can be preserved.

“For the individuals that want them up, put it in a museum so you can pay your admission, price of admission and go take a look at it. But on public space, there should be a public dialogue,” said Jones.

Jones says he has the support of four other City Council members, including Lynch. He says the four remaining members will have to answer to their constituents.

“I am taking the feedback and thoughts of my constituents on the issue,” said Councilwoman Kristen Larson, who represents the city’s 4th District.

“They’re going to have to decide which part of history they’re going to be on,” said Jones.

8News has reached out to the remaining council members. There will be a vote in July that will determine whether the monuments will come down.

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