How you can weigh in on future of Confederate statues on Monument Avenue

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The commission weighing the future of the monuments on Monument Avenue in Richmond is holding a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 9 for the public to weigh in on the issue.

The decision to form the Monument Avenue Commission comes in the midst of a national movement to remove Confederate monuments in major cities throughout the country.

The community can voice their opinions and concerns on the statues at the public hearing tonight and on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Both meetings will be held at the Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard.

Stoney said in a news conference in June that the intent of the commission is not to remove the monuments but to “tell the complete story of Monument Avenue” by placing placards nearby giving the context and history of the time in which they were built.

“It is my belief that without telling the whole story, these monuments constitute a default endorsement of a shameful period in our nation and in our city,” Stoney said in June.

The commission held its first meeting on July 31. A subcommittee made up of two non-commission members and Richmond city councilman Andreas Addison discussed what other localities across the country have done with their Confederate monuments.

“What I can dig up from public art networks and from other cities is just that most of them have looked at removal at this point,” said Ellyn Parker, the city’s Public Art Coordinator. “There are not a lot of examples of contextualization.”

But co-chair of the commission, Christy Coleman, says there are some recent examples. All of them are colleges and universities who have tried to add to existing monuments. She says most notably, the University of Mississipi.

“It’s chancellor at that time wanted to have a dialogue with students and alumni and members of the Oxford community about the names of the roads on the campuses and the flags on the campuses and the statue area,” said Coleman.

Some city officials say while some places have opted to just remove statues, Richmond has the chance to carry on a serious conversation.

“Richmond has a great position right now to put on a bold conversation about what do we do, not just what we think we should do,” said Richmond city council member Andreas Addison.

Tonight’s public input session is set to start at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit here. 

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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