It’s time

8/18/2017, 2:07 p.m.

The events in Charlottesville have prompted other cities to act.

After a unanimous vote by its City Council, Baltimore overnight removed four statues of Confederates, including those to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Confederate women. 

The mayor of Lexington, Ky., said he would push ahead with plans to remove their Confederate statues, while officials in Dallas, Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., are moving to take them down. On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also announced initiatives for removal of Confederate memorials from state property.

Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, the command post for the war to keep black people in bondage. Mayor Stoney, Richmond City Council and the Monument Avenue Commission must change the face Richmond shows to the world and stop honoring the traitors who fought to deny the freedom and humanity of others.

Our city should be out front by showing others that Confederates have no place on pedestals of honor in the middle of our city.

On this issue, Mayor Stoney cannot use the commission as a subterfuge for inaction. Nor can he continue to kowtow to the wishes of political supporters or certain special interests.

This is not a black-white issue. It is an issue of right and wrong. And like Ms. Heyer who gave her life in the struggle for right, people of conscience of all races and nationalities know what the outcome should be.

There is no context that can justify such a perch for Confederates or salve the wounds the statues continue to inflict.

Again, we say move the statues to museums or national battlefields in Virginia, where people can learn the history and see them in proper context. 

There’s an old joke making rounds again: How many Richmonders does it take to change a light bulb? Four. One to change the bulb and three others to talk about how great the old one was.

Mayor Stoney, we don’t want you or Richmond to become that joke.

It’s time for people in Richmond and elsewhere to hang up notions of white supremacy and embrace the fact that African-Americans, Latinos, Jews, immigrants, gays and people of color have an equal place at the table and are not just the wait staff, cooks or janitors. To leave up Confederate statues erected during the time of Jim Crow makes this city a laughingstock.

It’s time to move away from the past.

It’s time for the statues to go.