Today’s Solutions: May 31, 2023

Shocking as it may seem, more than 700 Confederate monuments remain on display in public spaces in America. Now, thanks to protests in the name of George Floyd, calls for cities to remove monuments dedicated to the Confederacy and its racist ideology have grown louder. And in many places, the monuments are already being removed.

In Birmingham, Alabama, people protesting the death of George Floyd vandalized the Confederate monument’s base and attempted — unsuccessfully — to topple it. The next day, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin addressed the crowd from the site of the obelisk. “Allow me to finish the job for you,” he said, and by the morning of June 3, city workers had removed the entire monument.

The city of Alexandria in Virginia has a statue featuring a Confederate soldier standing with his back to the north. The statue was slated for removal in July, but in response to the George Floyd protests, its owner, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, asked the city to take it down on June 2.

Several other cities are taking steps to remove Confederate monuments in response to the George Floyd protests. In Georgia, Athens-Clarke Mayor Kelly Girtz and several country commissioners have called for the removal of a Confederate memorial that’s already been the target of vandalism. “We want it gone and gone quickly,” Girtz said during a community update meeting on June 3.

In Rocky Mount, North Carolina, meanwhile, the city council voted 6 to 1 on June 2 to remove a Confederate monument in Battle Park that served as a focal point for the city’s George Floyd protests. Mayor Sandy Roberson told ABC11 News that the city council will confirm the vote next week, and then have the statue removed and stored somewhere.

Philadelphia also had a controversial statue removed, although it wasn’t dedicated to a Confederate soldier. The statue was of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, who famously told Philadelphia voters to “vote white.” But on Wednesday, the City of Brotherly Love took down a memorial to a man who exploited its divisions. For many Philadelphians, the larger-than-life statue of Rizzo, who also was Police Commissioner, was an overt symbol of white police officers’ brutal treatment of black people and other minorities.

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