Today we add our voice to a growing chorus of North Carolinians who are calling on state and local leaders to remove Confederate monuments from public government lands.
The Confederacy sought to protect slavery, dissolve the Union, and preserve white supremacy. While Confederate armies ultimately failed to achieve those first two goals, the monuments erected in their memory under Jim Crow were and remain vile symbols of white supremacy and the terrorization of communities of color across the country.
The renewed rise of white supremacy and the violence perpetrated by neo-Nazi terrorists in Charlottesville are painful reminders of how much work remains to challenge and defeat systems of hate and racial oppression in our nation. As a former slave state adorned with many monuments to the Confederacy’s racist cause, North Carolina must confront its own history, acknowledge the shameful message these statues send, and take action to remove them.
Every day that these monuments to white supremacy remain standing on North Carolina’s public land, our government sends a message that it endorses the oppression and inequality that they represent.
We call on the General Assembly and Governor Cooper to repeal the 2015 law barring the removal of such monuments and to take immediate steps to ensure that these shrines to white supremacy and racial violence are no longer allowed on land that is meant for all members of the public.
Moments after we released our statement, Governor Cooper released his own, echoing our call to action and calling for the monuments to come down.
But the work to undo white supremacy cannot end there. From voter suppression to mass incarceration, the tools of Jim Crow are still being deployed to attack the rights of Black and Brown North Carolinians. State leaders must live up to the principles of liberty and justice for all by removing monuments and shrines to white supremacy and rooting out racial injustice throughout the law.