White supremacists incited deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week in defense of a Confederate monument. We must show the country that Mobile gives no safe harbor to such hatred. We must remove the monument downtown of Adm. Raphael Semmes.
Confederate symbols on public land in effect endorse a movement founded on white supremacy. If our city government continues to pay homage to the Confederacy, people of color — who make up the majority of Mobile’s population — will continue to feel unsafe in their own community and can never be sure they will be treated fairly. And we will never solve our city’s problems if an entire group of citizens is alienated or feels targeted for discrimination.
Confederate symbols belong in museums and on private property. In museums, we can learn their full history. Citizens will always have the right to fly the Confederate flag. They can still erect monuments on their own property. That will not change.
But it is past time to move our monument to an appropriate place. Sandy Stimpson, the city council, the media and the rest of our community should research how to remove the monument and whether we can afford the $25,000 fine associated with doing so. Then we should act.
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