Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney on Monday said that adding context to his city’s Confederate monuments is preferable to relocating or removing them.
“Currently, as I’ve always said, since my remarks earlier on this year, the way those statues stand currently, they’re a shameful representation of the past we all disagree with,” he said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“For me, it’s about telling the complete truth,” Stoney added, noting he finds the monuments “very offensive.”
“I don’t think removal of symbols does anything for telling the actual truth or changes the state and culture of racism in this country today.”
Some Twitter users on Monday decried reports that a rally is planned next month around a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.
Confederate group requests to hold rally at Lee statue in Richmond - just take the staues down!!! stop announcing— Celeste Romanski (@RomanskiCeleste) August 14, 2017
I fear that could happen in Richmond VA, my hometown. They have a significant confederate statue problem there. I don't want people hurt.— Courtney Sands (@cas_sands) August 14, 2017
Stoney said that he is aware of the pending application with Virginia for the rally regarding the statue of Lee.
The mayor added that the Virginia Department of General Services will make the final decision on whether such an event takes place.
“I would make the request that in light of the events that happened in Charlottesville that we take a deep look at whether or not this is something that should go forward on Sept. 16,” Stoney said.
Stoney in June announced the formation of a commission for recommending extra contest to Confederate markers along Richmond’s Monument Avenue.
Statues located along the avenue include Lee and other Confederate generals like Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart.
Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis also has a statue there, as does former Confederate naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury.
Violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend when white nationalists arrived there to protest the removal of a statue honoring Lee.
One person was killed after a man drove a car into counter-protesters last Saturday, while two Virginia State Police officers died in a helicopter crash linked to the unrest.
The incident sparked new national debate over the role of race in modern America and the Confederacy’s legacy after the Civil War.