- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings declared Tuesday that Confederate statues in the city are “monuments of propaganda” and has called for a task force to determine whether they should be removed.

Mr. Rawlings said that while he personally views the two Confederate-era statues in Lee Park and downtown as “dangerous totems” and “monuments of propaganda,” he stopped short of calling for their removal without getting more information first.

“It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and say, ‘Tear them down,’ because it’s, frankly, politically correct, and in many ways it makes us all feel good. I feel that way,” he said during a press conference Tuesday, D Magazine reported. “But I hesitate, and the reason is because I realize that the city of Dallas is better, is stronger, when we are united, and not divided.”

“We know about this bigotry and hate all too well in Dallas, a place that for so long was a bastion of the Ku Klux Klan and was dubbed the City of Hate. A place that 13 months ago a madman came here to kill certain cops just because they were white,” he said. “As we try to grow as a city, we can never ignore the fact that race and our racial injustices of the past continue to haunt us, and the institutional racism we see economically every day keeps us from the goal that we have as a city. One symbol of those injustices are public art and statues in some parts of our city.”

The displays that face possible removal are the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Park and the Confederate War Memorial in Pioneer Park Cemetery.

Mr. Rawlings‘ proposed task force would be made up of council-appointed members, who would present findings to the Office of Cultural Affairs and its board, which would then present to the city council in the next 90 days.

The task force would also rely on input from Dallas residents and the city’s Quality of Life Committee, Mr. Rawlings said.

The mayor said there isn’t a city council agenda item for his proposal yet, but that he was “moving on it rapidly,” D Magazine reported.

The proposal comes as increased opposition to Confederate memorials sweeps the country, accelerated by a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend that resulted in the death of a woman.

Mr. Rawlings addressed the violence in Charlottesville, assuring residents that the Dallas Police Department would ensure public safety during a protest this weekend calling for the removal of Confederate monuments.

“We will not have street brawls in our city,” he said.

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