MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“Since Reconstruction, Confederate symbols have been used by white supremacists as tools of racial terror. The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans erected hundreds of memorials to the Confederacy across the United States as part of an organized propaganda campaign, created to instill fear and ensure the ongoing oppression of formerly enslaved people.
“This is the heritage they continue to champion. One that not only is reflected in monuments, but also in school names, parks, municipalities, military bases, roadways, prisons, and flags, all 'honoring' a history of brutality and racial subjugation. Sadly, many southern states protect and defend this legacy by establishing laws that protect these symbols of hate and white supremacy.
“But there is hope. Many Americans are taking action to challenge oppression and counter false narratives, and Black people are often leading the way. Communities are coming together to create more inclusive public spaces that reflect liberation, not oppression.
“In 2020, 170 Confederate symbols were removed from the U.S. landscape. And this year, 31 Confederate memorials have been removed or are pending removal.
“And yet, there is much work to be done. Thousands of these symbols still litter our public spaces as reminders of white supremacy and anti-Black racism. We recognize that removing these symbols is only the first step. We must work for racial justice and an honest reckoning with our country’s past and present. That cannot be accomplished by removing a memorial or renaming a school, but it is a necessary step.”