We all know that Confederate monuments are racist and gross. But the good news is, thanks to a new law passed by the General Assembly, which goes into effect on July 1, localities finally have the power to take these monuments down.! They’re not going to go away on their own. So, we’re all going to have to do our part to make sure these monuments disappear from our communities for good!
How Did We Get Here?
Currently, Virginia has over 200 Confederate monuments displayed in public spaces throughout the Commonwealth. That’s more than any other state. Most of these monuments were not put up in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War to honor the dead, but rather during the Jim Crow and civil rights eras with the express purpose of intimidating Black people.
Luckily, during this year’s General Assembly session, state Senator Mamie Locke and Delegate Dolores McQuinn stepped up to champion and pass legislation allowing localities in Virginia to remove these gaudy tributes to our nation’s greatest shame.
Now that the bill has been signed into law, localities can begin the process to remove Confederate monuments starting next week on July 1. This was some fantastic legislation, but it’s important to remember that this battle is only half over, and unless localities take it upon themselves to remove these monuments, they won’t be going away any time soon.
That means each and every one of us needs to find out where our closest Confederate monuments are, and do everything in our power to get them taken down!
How Do We Get Rid of Them?
Try to find out how many Confederate statues are in your area, exactly where they are, and if they are still standing after the recent protests. You may also need to reach out to local activist groups and see if they’ve already begun the process of having the monuments removed.
You will need to petition your city council or your county’s board of supervisors to begin the process of removing them. But what if your local board or council isn’t willing to accept a petition or remove monuments?
Well, first, you can organize. Grassroots campaigns can be incredibly effective. Reach out to your local board or council members and talk to them about the issue and connect with other people in your area to help put pressure on them. We love to see a well-executed protest!
If your leaders still aren’t willing to listen, find out when your next local elections are. A lot of candidates in these elections don’t have party affiliations or don’t list them on the ballot, so you’ll need to research who your local candidates are and contact them to find out their position on removing Confederate monuments. Or show up to an event and ask them!
For many cities and counties in Virginia, city councils and boards of supervisors positions will be up for election this November. If your local leaders refuse to do something about Confederate monuments in your area, you may have a chance to vote them out soon! Find out about your local elections and pledge to vote for progress this November!
Check out our other bills highlighted in Progress Virginia’s Christmas in July: