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Charlottesville's Blue Ribbon Commission Holds First Meeting

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Charlottesville's Blue Ribbon Commission met for the first time Thursday Charlottesville's Blue Ribbon Commission met for the first time Thursday
John Edwin Mason, Blue Ribbon Commission member John Edwin Mason, Blue Ribbon Commission member
Gordon Fields, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Human Rights Commission Gordon Fields, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Human Rights Commission
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

After months of controversy over Confederate memorials, Charlottesville's new Blue Ribbon Commission met for the first time Thursday.

Opponents of confederate monuments, like the Robert E. Lee Statue in downtown Charlottesville's Lee Park, say they create a hostile environment for African-Americans. Others say the statues help preserve Virginia’s history.

Commissioners hope to find a way for the city to respect and honor the African-American community while remembering Charlottesville’s history, both good and bad.

Much of the two hour gathering focused on getting to know each other and the logistics of the commission, but the group also talked about goals.

In the months ahead, commissioners will consider options like taking down memorials or adding new ones.

Commissioners brainstormed how to get youth involved and ideas for adding memorials, like using historical murals at Thursday’s meeting.

“Why not a mural as a way of telling other histories of Charlottesville and including other people, other stories that don't get told? You make murals really big. They can be really appealing to the eye,” said John Edwin Mason, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission.

“This is going to be very big, very detailed. I know we're probably going to take a field trip to look at some stuff too. It's going to take up our summer and our fall,” said Gordon Fields, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission and Human Rights Commission.

Commissioners have about six months and $10,000 to study the issue and come up with options for moving forward.

The commission hopes to have a report by the end of November. Then, city councilors will review all of the recommendations put forward.

  • Viewer Poll

  • Some Charlottesville councilors are considering removing the General Lee statue and / or renaming Lee Park. What do you think should be done?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Remove the statue of General Robert E. Lee, keep park name
    1%
    372 votes
    Rename Lee Park, keep the statue
    5%
    1398 votes
    Remove the statue and rename the park
    13%
    3543 votes
    Don't change anything
    78%
    21693 votes
    None of the above
    3%
    874 votes
  • RELATED ARTICLES: In Depth: Central Virginia Debates over Civil War Era Displays and Monuments
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