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Blue Ribbon Commission Votes on Plans for Statues at Final Meeting

Posted: Updated: Nov 28, 2016 10:56 PM
Blue Ribbon Commission final meeting Blue Ribbon Commission final meeting
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Monday night was the final chance for people in Charlottesville to hear from the city's Blue Ribbon Commission as it prepares to present its findings to City Council.

At its final meeting, commissioners voted to present two different options for council to consider with regard to the city's Confederate statues.

The first option is to relocate either or both the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues to McIntire Park. The second is to transform the statues in their existing locations.

"I think that they are both very strong options and options that City Council really ought to consider,” John Mason, commissioner, said.

Commissioners voted 5 to 4 to transform the Lee statue in place, and 7 to 2 in favor of moving the Lee statue. They were able to vote for either or both options. Commissioners voted 8 to 1 to keep the Stonewall Jackson statue in place.

Commissioners say they see merit in both of the two options which they will present. It will then be up to Council to review and make the final decision.

“These recommendations have had to do with the Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. But, also those recommendations that have to do with telling a more inclusive and complete history of Charlottesville," Mason said.

The Blue Ribbon Commission also talked about ways to memorialize Vinegar Hill and the Slave Auction Block, as well as rebuilding and maintaining the Daughters of Zion Cemetery.

"And I think those recommendations are equally important to our recommendations about the fate of the Confederate memorials," Mason said.

At the very end, each commissioner had a chance to share thoughts and reflections.

"You all in your own individual ways and collectively taught me so much and inspired me so much, agree or disagree," commission chair Dom Gathers said.

“My ideas about the history of Charlottesville, the way we memorialize and tell the history, those have changed. And those have changed because of the listening that I've done to the public, to the experts, and to the commissioners," Mason said.

Commissions have until Dec. 5 to send in their final report. The official presentation before councilors and the public will be on Dec 15.

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