Wes Bellamy, Former New Orleans Mayor Discuss Confederate Monuments
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville community is turning to another southern city with ties to the Confederacy to learn how to best work toward a positive future.
On Wednesday, March 20, City Councilor Wes Bellamy sat down with Mitch Landrieu, a former New Orleans mayor, at the Virginia Festival of the Book to discuss how his city went about removing four Confederate monuments nearly two years ago.
“Our community is not just this quaint, gentle town that everyone thinks that we are,” Bellamy said. “We’re a place that has a lot of baggage but a lot of promise and I’m looking forward to moving forward with our community together.”
On Wednesday night, Bellamy sat down with Landrieu to discuss Confederate monuments, division, racism, and hatred.
“I think it’s critical for the whole country to deal with the issue of race, we haven’t really done it very well, we’re not good at talking about it,” Landrieu said.
Landrieu shared his stories about how New Orleans handled similar issues that Charlottesville currently faces.
“We had four monuments, we were rebuilding the city of New Orleans, and we decided to take four Confederate monuments down,” Landrieu said.
Bellamy says the Charlottesville community can learn a lot from New Orleans.
“It’s talking about how we move forward as a community and truly deal with the topic of race and then what do we do after we have the discussion,” Bellamy said.
But Bellamy also adds that nothing is going to get better for anyone until people actually work together toward fostering a more equitable community.
“A lot of people like to talk, and then there has to be action afterwards so I hope we can have the discussion and action steps,” Bellamy said.
Right now, the city of Charlottesville remains tied up in a legal battle over two of its Confederate monuments.
This comes following a City Council decision to remove the statues roughly two years ago.