Richmond council asks General Assembly for authority over city’s Confederate monuments

Virginia

RICHMOND, VA – AUGUST 23: A statue of Confederate General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, unveild in 1919, stands at the intersection of Monument Avenue and North Boulevard August 23, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission — composed of academics, historians and community leaders –will include an examination of the removal or relocation of some or all of the city’s Confederate statues, which depict Civil War Gens. Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson; President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis; and Confederate naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s City Council passed a resolution Monday that could soon give the council authority over the city’s memorials and monuments.

The resolution, introduced by 9th District Councilman Michael Jones, would ask the Virginia General Assembly to enact measures to allow Richmond to decide what to do with Confederate monuments owned by the city. Virginia law currently prohibits local governments from removing or altering monuments and memorials.

The council voted 6-2 in favor of the resolution during a special meeting on Monday.

The resolution could make it easier for the removal of Confederate memorials in Richmond, a possibility that Jones acknowledged he was hoping for when he announced the resolution.

“Personally, professionally I believe they should come down,” Jones said when he announced the resolution in December. “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.”

Monday’s vote came after two similar resolutions proposed by Jones were rejected in 2017 and 2018.

“Do the monuments actually fit who we are and where we’re going?” Jones asked. “It has been apart of Richmond’s past, but the key is will it be apart of our future?”

Jones believes giving the city the ability to decide will help open up discussions on whether or not removing the statues is a good idea. But those against the proposal disagrees.

“This is our history, these are what these people fought and died for,” said Tammy Hugate. “They erase the history so that way people don’t know what happened for real. They make up their own history as it goes. It’s tyranny at its best.”

While others are fully backing the proposal passing.

“It’s about time they come down, that would be unifying not divisive,” said Phil Wilayto. “Those statues need to come down. They’re a front to the black community and to every right-minded person in the state.”

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