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Richmonders split opinions around monument removal

Posted at 11:45 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 23:54:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond City workers continue to remove city-owned Confederate monuments, but some say that their removal is causing divisions among Richmonders.

Michael Lucas has been studying history his entire life. The Richmond historian said Tuesday, he disagrees with the dismantling of Confederate monuments in the city.

“The monuments actually gave a broader sense of trying to understand who are these people, why are they on these monuments and some sort of understanding of who they were as a people," Lucas said.

In the last week, three monuments have been removed along Monument Avenue by city workers. The most recent, being J.E.B. Stuart.

Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the statues to be taken down, saying they’ve created a public safety risk after week of continuous protest in the city. Lucas argued that there should have been public input.

“Why didn’t they let the community have the opportunity to argue and debate and consider the value to it," Lucas said.

Other Richmonders said the change is progress towards building a better community.

“It’s really just fascinating to see how the conversation has completely turned into community action here in Richmond," Keara Dail said.

Richmonders, Matt and Sherrie Davis are taking a different approach. They’ve been cleaning the graffiti off of the monuments.

“It’s all about bringing unity. That’s the main thing of unity. Community, love," Matt Davis said.

The couple believes the healing of the nations starts with meaningful conversations, not by taking down the statues.

“Stop the whites on blacks, blacks on whites and start treating each other as a human being," Davis said. "At the end of the day, God forbid, we all die, today, that’s it. We’re not going to take this [Statues] with us. We have to just figure it out.”

Lucas added that while he wants to see the monuments stay where they are, he also believes the community needs to look deeper into the people that were actually on the monuments and come together to have a conversation.

“To have that inclusivity so that we can all be inclusive and really consider each other humanity and understand each other's character rather than throw racism and hate and continue this destruction in our community that’s divided the city, state and the country," Lucas said.