Charlottesville Council to Vote on Observance of Lee - Jackson Day

Posted: Updated: Mar 02, 2015 11:02 AM
Charlottesville City Council Charlottesville City Council

Charlottesville City Council is gearing up to make a decision on the observance of a controversial holiday.

On Tuesday Council will decide on the city's observance of Lee-Jackson Day and they're expecting a vocal reaction from the community no matter what they decide.

Council plans to vote on an ordinance that would end the holiday's observance in Charlottesville. Council held a public hearing on the issue on February 2.

The hearing got heated at times; 21 people addressed council that evening, 10 wanted to keep the holiday, and 11 said they want it to end. Lee-Jackson Day currently falls immediately before Martin Luther King Day. Some people feel that timing is inappropriate, while others say it commemorates the state's history.

If the holiday is ended, councilors could let city employees choose which date will be recognized as a paid holiday instead, options include Veteran's Day. Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin hopes the decision will bring the community together.

"Let's move towards those things that unify us, and that's Veterans Day, and everyone can celebrate that in their own heart in whatever way they want, Lee Jackson Day divides us - clearly divides us,” she stated.

Galvin hopes to start a series of discussions with the city's Human Rights Commissions about the Civil War. She wants to foster a better understanding and dialogue for how it still affects many people today.

Even though council already had the public hearing on the issue, there will be public comment before councilors vote Tuesday night. Up to 12 people can speak for three minutes each. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

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