RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones (9th District) has introduced a resolution that would give the city power to decide what to do with the statues on Monument Avenue.
Jones brought his resolution forward during a press conference on Monday.
In the resolution, Jones asked the General Assembly to grant Richmond the authority to make decisions on the disposition of Confederate memorials.
“Personally, professionally I believe they should come down,” Jones said.
Does council as a body have the ability to determine our own future?” Councilman Jones said.
The President of the Richmond NAACP chapter, James J.J.Minor, and Charles Willis with United Communities Against Hate Crimes, will join Councilman Jones.
State law forbids cities and counties from changing war memorials — that includes Confederate monuments — but democratic leaders in the state said they want to change that law and leave it up to localities to decide what to do with the statues.
In 2017 and 2018, Jones’ push was rejected by city council, but this year Jones is counting on the major shift of power at the Capitol.
“In January, we will have a Democratic-controlled General Assembly and I know there are individuals in the General Assembly that are for local control,” Jones said.
He adds that local control doesn’t mean statues will be torn down, but it should illicit some discussion. It’s a message that the NAACP endorses.
“We need to have a real discussion of race, diversity and make sure we include all races to tell the history of what’s happened here in sweet ‘ol Virginia, the capital of the confederacy,” said James “J.J.” Minor, NAACP president.
So far discussions have included taking down the monuments, leaving them up and adding educational context, erecting more diverse statues, taking them off their pedestals, so they sit eye-level, or they’re displayed in a museum.
The press conference took place at City Hall at 11 a.m. The resolution will be introduced at the end of the city council meeting at 6 p.m.
The resolution can not be introduced to the General Assembly without city council approval. Councilmembers are expected to vote in January.