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Sen. Kaine explains evolving stance on removing Confederate statues

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine spoke with WFXR News about the evolution of his stance in removing Confederate statues.

Kaine told WFXR News that, in his time as mayor of Richmond, his approach was to try and add commemorations to African-Americans rather than take statues down, saying he believed them to be symbols of the past.

However, now the senator says he supports the statues’ removal and says conversations with young African-Americans in Richmond helped him see those statues as symbols of modern-day issues.

“No, they’re not symbols of the past,” said Kaine, describing what an individual said to him. “I said, ‘Well what do you mean by that?’ Well, if a society chooses to have these and maintain them beautifully and clean them up and put a spotlight on them, and tell tourists to come see them, then it’s kind of not just about the past. It’s who we’re honoring in the present.”

Kaine says the statues have become symbols of a “troubling present.” Some examples he mentioned include the killing of George Floyd and the disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 deaths among people of color.

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