Councilor Galvin Now Calling for Removal of Charlottesville's Confederate Statues
Councilor Kathy Galvin announced that she now believes the Robert E. Lee and Thomas Johnathan “Stonewall” Jackson statues have got to go from Charlottesville's parks.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Another Charlottesville leader is changing their decision on what to do with the city’s statues of Confederate generals.
Councilor Kathy Galvin announced Monday, August 21, that she now believes the Robert E. Lee and Thomas Johnathan “Stonewall” Jackson statues have got to go from Emancipation and Justice parks, respectively.
"It is time for the Jackson and the Lee statues to be relocated to a battlefield park or a museum where they will neither be reviled or revered, but preserved and explained," Galvin said.
She and Mayor Mike Signer had rejected removing the Lee statue from the park when it came up for a vote on February 6. At the time, Galvin explained her belief that keeping the statue makes people reckon with the city's past.
"It goes back to how I was raised in my faith tradition, which compels me to always seek peace whenever there is a conflict area. That is what I did in February. I sought to find common ground,” said Galvin during Monday's announcement.
Signer similarly explained his vote against the motion in February was not a vote for the statue, but rather in support of efforts to contextualize it in place.
Councilors voted unanimously to change the name of the park from Lee to Emancipation. They had not voted on what to do with the Jackson statue, but did decide to change the park name from Jackson to Justice.
Signer changed his stance on both statues on Friday, August 18.
Galvin said Monday that she will be calling on the Board of Architectural Review to vote on the removal as soon as possible. She will also ask the consultant team to provide both near and long-term plans for the statues.
An ongoing lawsuit is challenging City Council’s decision, arguing that councilors acted beyond their authority and violated a state code prohibiting the removal of monuments or memorials to war veterans.
A judge issued a temporary injunction on May 2, stopping the city from going forward with plans to remove the Lee statue for six months.
The lawsuit is expected to be taken up again in Charlottesville Circuit Court later in August.