- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney of Richmond, Va., said Wednesday he is ordering a commission to explore the possible removal or relocation of Confederate statues that now decorate Monument Avenue, saying they should be “part of our dark past and not of our bright future.”

Mr. Stoney, a Democrat, said that the ugly events in Charlottesville this week showed how these statues and monuments have the “power to serve as a rallying point for division and intolerance and violence” and that he personally supports having them removed.

“But I believe more in the importance of dialogue and transparency by pursuing a responsible process to consider the full weight of this decision,” he said in a statement. “Effective immediately, the Monument Avenue Commission will include an examination of the removal and/or relocation of some or all of the confederate statues.”

“Continuing this process will provide an opportunity for the public to be heard and the full weight of this decision to be considered in a proper forum where we can have a constructive and civil dialogue,” Mr. Stoney said. “Let me be clear: we will not tolerate allowing these statues and their history to be used as a pretext for hate and violence, or to allow our city to be threatened by white supremacists and neo-Nazi thugs. We will protect our city and keep our residents safe.”

The announcement came after white supremacists groups organized a rally in Charlottesville over the weekend to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the top confederate general.

The event drew counter-protesters and sparked violent clashes between the two sides.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old, was killed Saturday after a man from Ohio allegedly rammed a car into a crowd of people that were protesting the rally.

Monument Avenue in Richmond features statues of, among others, Mr. Lee, Jefferson Davis, who served as president of the Confederate States, as well as Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a top general in the Confederate Army.

There is also a statue of tennis champion Arthur Ashe Jr.

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