Confederate on Virginia Women’s Monument ‘will diminish’ it

2/9/2018, 10:25 p.m.

Once again, the state of Virginia has allowed some to dishonor, or fail to acknowledge, the vast accomplishments and the very existence of a marginalized people or population as it proceeds toward the erection of another Confederate statue, that of Confederate Capt. Sally Tompkins on the Virginia Women’s Monument.

As a tribute to the state’s women, 12 women were nominated and approved to have their statues erected and placed on the lawn of our Capitol. A groundbreaking ceremony for the women’s monument that took place in December 2017, with the completion scheduled for January 2019, sends a message of sadness and betrayal to many and indicates that Richmond fares about the same or worst as Charlottesville in terms of race relations. There is no cover big enough to hide the fact that this same old divisiveness is still very much alive in Richmond and has been confirmed.

As we marched last year to protest statues symbolizing hate, discrimination, division and lack of equality represented by the many Confederates statues along Monument Avenue, others were preparing to escalate the hate and divisiveness that the erection of one more Confederate statue would bring.

The sheer boldness of the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission and the blessings of our governor at the time, Terry McAuliffe, and now Gov. Ralph S. Northam to proceed with this speaks volumes of the climate of this city as related to equality, justice and acknowledgment of the pain many suffered to arrive at this point.

Once again, it’s money over people. Every day, we see it in Washington, but we see it in Richmond, too.

If Richmond is to really move forward, erecting another Confederate statue is not the answer, even if it is of a woman.

If the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission has enough money and such lack of empathy for a marginalized group to have such an atrocious, insensitive statue of a Confederate erected reminding us of our horrible past, then I am glad no tax dollars were appropriated to perpetuate this hate, injustice and division. However, using private funds to erect the monument doesn’t excuse the pain it will represent.

There are many other great women who could be honored on the statue. Sally Tompkins’ statue will diminish the commemoration of the 11 others.


Henrico County