All of metro area should
pay for statue removal
Following a recent suggestion in a Richmond Times-Dispatch news story, I sent a donation to the Move the Monuments Fund, created by a local Realtor, Shannon Harton, to help Richmond pay the $1.8 million cost of removing 11 Confederate statues throughout the city.
As a resident of Chesterfield County, I recognize that my county, along with Henrico and others, long has embraced Richmond's monuments and the history they represent. The counties also joined the Virginia General Assembly in imposing the political straitjacket that has stymied Richmond from growing and developing as it should. It is thus unfair that the city, overloaded with financial burdens from the past, should bear the whole expense of removing the statuary relics of the Confederacy. This burden should be assumed by all concerned for the future of the city and its region.
The removal fund's fiscal agent is the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, which develops affordable housing throughout the Richmond area.
"The monuments are a part of our past that impede our future, and so the removal is important,” Laura Lafayette, the trust's chair, told Times-Dispatch reporter Johanna Alonso. Lafayette added: "We have a number of challenges before we can say that metropolitan Richmond is a community of opportunity in which, no matter what your address, no matter what your ZIP Code, you have an opportunity to flourish."
By casting "metropolitan Richmond" as the "community of opportunity," Lafayette challenges all of us, in counties and city alike. Sharing payment for removing the statues today should be an earnest of our united commitment to bring about that greater metropolitan Richmond community once the statues have gone.