Virginia’s Democratic governor Ralph Northam will announce the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It will be taken down from Monument Ave, a statue that has been up since about 1890. The date of removal is unknown.
Northam made his details known during a press conference this week. He said, “it’s time to acknowledge the reality of institutional racism, even if you can’t see it. Public policies have kept this reality in place for a long time. That’s why we’ve been working so hard to reform criminal justice laws, expand health care access, make it easier to vote, and so much more.”
Northam further explained that “symbols matter too, and Virginia has never been willing to deal with symbols. Until now.”
The governor stated that some people will be happy and some will be upset about the decision.
The Robert E. Lee statue will go into storage for the time being.
Gov. Northam stated they will work with community leaders in order to address the future of the statue, if it gets placed somewhere else, or if it even remains in storage.
Northam explained that this statue is different because the state of Virginia owns it. ““You see, the state owns it, unlike most other statues. That was another part of the plan to keep it up forever. It sits on a 100-foot circle of land, a state-owned island, surrounded by the City of Richmond.”
What they do next will be based on the conversations with the community. As the statue sits in storage, after removal, it’s future is essentially unknown.