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SPLC statement on legislation overturning Virginia’s prohibition on the removal of Confederate war memorials

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – On Saturday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed Senate Bill 183 and House Bill 1537 into law allowing for the removal, relocation, or contextualization of Confederate monuments starting July 1, 2020. The following statement is from Lecia Brooks, spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“The Commonwealth’s decision to overturn the prohibition on the removal of Confederate war memorials proves that state lawmakers recognize Virginians are more than capable of making their own decisions about what they want to see in their public spaces.

“Symbols of white supremacy never belonged on government land, schools, parks or military assets because they glorify a system of racial oppression and exclusion that rejects our nation’s fundamental ideals. Their presence only serves as a painful reminder of this country’s history of intolerance, which was seen clearly during the 2017 Charlottesville rally.

“With 112 Confederate monuments scattered across the state of Virginia, it is unlikely that all communities will favor their removal. But, more and more of them will in the months and years ahead. We believe the time has come to put to rest forever the myth that these symbols memorialize anything other than the era of white supremacy that many fought and died to stamp out.”

Learn about the impact of Confederate symbols on public land in the SPLC’s “Whose Heritage?” Report.