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Public comment on 1/30/19 Members of the House subcommittee, I have a message for you today related to House Bill 2377, introduced by Delegate David Toscano from Charlottesville and Albemarle County, which would give cities the power to decide what happens to war memorials in their locality. You have the power to let this bill pass on to the State floor, and I ask that you do so. My name is Justin Greenlee, I live in the East End of Richmond, and I’m currently a student in the Graduate Program in Art & Architectural History at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. UVA is where my heart is so I’d like to begin by acknowledging the experience of students who were attacked by white supremacists on August 11, 2017 and the three people who lost their lives on August 12: Heather Heyer, Jay Cullen, and Berke Bates. As we all know, a year and a half ago Neo-Confederates and white supremacists treated statues of Lee and Jackson as rallying points for a hateful cause. They carried torches and battle flags and chanted slogans that made their dream of a whiter America clear, and yet we have still not addressed a commemorative landscape that is littered with the symbols they continue to adore. This is what we know about monuments in downtown Charlottesville, on Monument Avenue, and in public squares across Virginia: -- they are monuments to white supremacy; -- they were and continue to be attractive to those possessed of a hateful ideology; -- they peddle a false version of history wherein slavery is denied as a cause of the Civil War; -- their placement is calculated and contributed to the enforced racial segregation known as Jim Crow; -- they replaced and were literally built on top of black neighborhoods; -- they marked certain spaces as white and presided over all kinds of racial violence, including grave robbing and the threat of lynching; -- and they continue to intimidate, today. We are gathered with messages of “Local authority for war memorials,” “Lose the Lost Cause,” and “Truthful History Heals.” Please allow the bill to go forward from this committee. Do it for the sake of racial conciliation in Charlottesville, Richmond, and your own municipalities. As a judge in Jefferson County, Alabama recently write: "A city has a right to speak for itself, to say what it wishes, and to select the views that it wants to express." Thank you for your time. Justin Greenlee PhD candidate, Department of Art History University of Virginia

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PublicComment.Subcommittee.LocalAuthority.1.30.2019  

Public comment addressed to members of the House subcommittee #1 on Counties, Cities, and Towns in the Virginia General Assembly on December...

PublicComment.Subcommittee.LocalAuthority.1.30.2019  

Public comment addressed to members of the House subcommittee #1 on Counties, Cities, and Towns in the Virginia General Assembly on December...

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