Charlottesville City Council Approves Commission to Study Monuments

Posted: Updated: May 02, 2016 10:49 PM
File Image: Statue of Robert E. Lee File Image: Statue of Robert E. Lee
Charlottesville City Councilor Bob Fenwick Charlottesville City Councilor Bob Fenwick

Charlottesville City Council tackled the controversy over Confederate memorials in the city Monday night.  Council approved setting up a commission to study Charlottesville’s monuments and how to honor both history and race.

Opponents of these monuments say they promote racism and inequality, but others say tearing down the statues would be like forgetting our history.

The discussion began when one high school girl started a petition to tear down the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Charlottesville’s Lee Park.

Monday night, Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously to appoint a special blue ribbon commission to come up with recommendations. Council wants the commission to look at all different options, including totally removing the Confederate monuments or just adding some context to the memorials.

“They can talk to people at the university, out in the community, Charlottesville, Albemarle, out in the surrounding communities, and we'll just get started. This is a very important conversation so I'm going to give them as much leeway as they need,” said Charlottesville City Councilor Bob Fenwick.

Councilors hammered out most of the details about the commission at a public work session last week.

Nine people appointed to the group would have about six months and $10,000 to work with.

The clerk's office will now start accepting applications to be on the blue ribbon commission. The city hopes to begin appointing people in June.

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