CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Unitarian church in Charlottesville is dropping “Thomas Jefferson Memorial” from its name.
The congregation at the church on Rugby Road, formerly known as Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, voted to remove Jefferson’s name after examining Jefferson’s life and deciding the name no longer matched their values of inclusiveness and equality.
Those we spoke to at the church say they see this as a positive step toward racial justice.
“It became apparent to us that our Unitarian Universalist values weren’t always in alignment with how he lived his life. And in fact, we felt that often times, his name being attached to our congregation caused some folks to not want to be involved with us, and we wanted to be a welcome and inclusive congregation for all people,” Linda Olson Peebles, the interim lead minister of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charlottesville, said.
Leaders at the church say the decision does not come lightly, and that they’ve been considering this change for about two decades.