RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond contractors have plans to take down a total of 11 monuments with Confederate ties across the city. The removal process started this week, with Mayor Levar Stoney taking emergency action.
Over the last two days several confederate monuments have been struck down from their pedestals.
Residents all over Virginia are reflecting on a week that will make history books.
“I’m just glad that I’m alive to see it happening in my lifetime,” said Debra Leveille who is a resident of Fredericksburg. “The Confederate Monuments should have been taken down 30 or 40 years ago.”
Leveille was visiting the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue with her husband. The couple wanted to witness history before the remainder of the removal process.
Other RVA residents are marking these recent events as a sad time for America.
“Robbed Richmond forever of one of its most valuable resources,” said Andrew Morehead, a spokesperson for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Mayor Levar Stoney used emergency powers on Wednesday to call on the immediate removal of all Confederate statues in the city.
“We have an urgent need to protect the public,” Stoney said.
Stoney cited that it was a public safety issue to keep the statues in the city, due to pedestrians taking it upon themselves to remove them.
July 1 granted local governments the power to decide their fate. One by one, four individual monuments were removed. The Stonewall Jackson statue on Monument Avenue was removed as hundreds watched in the pouring rain. The following morning, the Matthew Fontaine Maury statue was taken down. Meanwhile, two cannons were also removed the same day.
The city is pausing its statue removal efforts over the holiday weekend. Any additional work would be up to the contractors who are following union mandates. There are seven remaining statues that will be coming down in the near future.
Some residents are acknowledging that generations of requests to remove the statues have been granted.
“The fact that we were able to do it in like a month worth of time. It feels pretty powerful,” said Landus Smith Jr., who lives in Richmond.
Smith believes that the removal of the Confederate Statues has brought people of all colors together.
City councilman Mike Jones agrees, saying that the removal of Confederate statues is a shift towards a better city.
“In what we can now call the former capital of the confederacy and truly begin to embrace the mantra that Virginia is for lovers,” Jones said.
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