News →

Protesters Demand More than Removal of Confederate Monuments

A Black man stands on the Lee Monument, fist raised, after government officials announced plans to remove the Confederate monuments.
A Black man stands on the Lee Monument, fist raised, above graffiti reading "How Much More Blood?" after government officials announced plans to remove the Confederate monuments. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

Hundreds of protesters were gathered around the Robert E. Lee statue when the news broke on Wednesday about the intentions of Governor Ralph Northam, Mayor Levar Stoney and Councilman Michael Jones to take action to remove confederate statues on Monument Avenue. One of them was Naomi Isaac who wants to see more concrete action.

“These symbolic acts do nothing to change our material conditions right now,” said Isacc. “And so I’m glad that they are taking down these monuments, but what are they doing in terms of funding the RPD and funding this racist police department that continues to enact violence against Black Americans?”

Isaac is happy the monuments will finally come down because she says they represent “so much against trauma for the Black community.” But she emphasized that more needs to be done to change to social and economic conditions for Black residents, including removing police from public schools. 

Stacy Decordova and her family were also at the Lee statue when the news broke. She says the monuments are a hurtful legacy and a stain on the city. Decordova agrees there’s more that needs to be done — including police reform. 

“There has to be some kind of analysis of what’s going on in these police departments, countrywide honestly, and just justice, equality,” said Decordova.

Mayor Stoney says he and Councilman Mike Jones will submit legislation to remove all of the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, when a new state law goes into effect giving localities control over Confederate monuments. 

Stoney also announced commitments to other demands of Richmond protesters including creating the “Marcus Alert” - to get mental health professionals involved in responses to people having a mental health crisis. He also said the City would explore creating a Citizen Review Board, an independent group that would review misconduct by police. Stoney also said the city would implement recommendations of a racial equity study to make them a “core component of its policies and practices.”