The Nov. 6 front-page article “Democrats flip both Virginia chambers” noted that “Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, just nine months after nearly resigning over a blackface scandal, stands poised to be one of the most consequential Virginia governors in recent times.” Considering Mr. Northam’s pledge to confront his white privilege and challenge Virginia’s legacy of racism, will he use this opportunity to help Charlottesville remove the Confederate monuments from the center of our city?

Many may not realize that the Confederate monuments that were the focal point of the violent rallies in Charlottesville in 2017 remain in place. Though the city council voted unanimously to remove the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson two years ago, they are being prevented from doing so by a lawsuit alleging these Lost Cause monuments are protected by Virginia’s “war memorials” law. Previous attempts to amend this law to clarify that cities do indeed have the right to remove these racist relics have failed in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

In Charlottesville, we have been told to wait until the legislature changes hands. Now it has. Will Mr. Northam work with his colleagues in the General Assembly to pass an amendment to the war memorials law to ensure our right to remove these magnets of white supremacist violence? Or will he rest in his white privilege, allege there are other priorities and allow Virginia’s idols to Lost Cause mythology and racism to continue to dominate our local landscapes?

Ben Doherty, Charlottesville

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