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Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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United We Stand, Together They Fall

On Sunday, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, demonstrators descended upon Linn Park in Birmingham, Alabama in protest of the racial injustice plaguing our nation, during which, they attempted to tear down a 115-year old Confederate monument. Mayor Randall Woodfin arrived at the protest, pleading with demonstrators to leave rather than risk arrest, and promising that he would finish the job for them. On Monday, the monument no longer stood in the public park, and is now stored at a temporary undisclosed location, for safety.

In response, State Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a suit Tuesday fining the city $25,000 for violating state law by removing the monument in Birmingham. Mayor Woodbin has said to have welcomed the fine over the continued unrest of the citizens of his community. At the time of print, fundraising campaigns had raised above and beyond the $25,000 fine imposed upon the city.

Since Sunday, we have heard calls across the country to remove the antagonist structures that were erected during highly intense periods of racial conflict in our history. Sparked by the church shooting in 2015 in Charleston which killed nine black parishioners, at the hands of a white supremacist, we have seen the monuments removed in succession around our country in the name of racial justice.

On the contrary, there are still states in this nation with laws that have been enacted to hinder and/or prevent such monuments from being altered or removed. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee comprise the states with such protections. Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina specifically, leave zero interpretation for discussion, their laws clearly forbid the alteration or removal of said monuments.

It should be noted that as of May 2020, Virginia eradicated the state law that prohibited altering and/or removing of these controversial memorials, opening the door for local governments in the state to decide for themselves whether to remove them. In an announcement made on Thursday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam confirmed that the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, would be indeed removed. Northam commented on questions regarding the removal by stating: “Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now. So we’re taking it down.”

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