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.

Release from Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin:

CHARLOTTESVILLE (August 21, 2017) City Council member Kathy Galvin held a press conference today, Monday, August 21 at noon at CitySpace 100 5th St NE, in downtown Charlottesville. Galvin explained why she now supports removing both statues from Charlottesville’s downtown parks in the wake of the August 12, 2017 alt-right rally that led to the loss of three innocent lives.

“Last February I honestly believed there was a moment when the “lost cause” narrative of the Jackson and Lee statues could be subverted without removing them, by adding new memorials that would reveal the City’s complicity in perpetuating slavery and fomenting Civil War. I deeply believe that we need a common ground for peaceful dialogue, without categorically demonizing one another for holding different views about the statues. With the deaths of three people, and the “dog whistles” of a president turned “rebel yells,” that moment in these public places, has now passed.”

Looking forward, Galvin offered concrete steps for consideration at tonight’s City Council meeting.

“I will propose in tonight’s City Council meeting under other business, that we:

  • amend my resolution of February 6, 2017 to master plan the downtown parks by clearly stating that both the Jackson and Lee statues are to be removed;
  • require the consultant team to provide near- and long-term park redesigns for both Justice and Emancipation Parks with and without the statues (as resolving the fate of these statues within our court system may take time, but the need to change the narrative of these statues cannot wait);
  • extend the term of the master plan’s Request for Proposals by three months; and
  • call for the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) to meet as soon as possible to vote on the removal of both statues as required by our ordinances, so that there is no procedural delay in removing the statues should the courts find in the City’s favor.“

Galvin called for changed legislation which would make it legal to remove the statues, and to improve ordinances for public safety during large public gatherings. Galvin then opened the floor for questions.

The full statement by Kathy Galvin is below.