White nationalists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday to protest the city’s decision to take down Confederate monuments. But not only have the protests done nothing to change Charlottesville’s mind on this issue, it’s apparently prompted at least one other city to speed up action to remove its Confederate statues as well.
Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington, Kentucky, made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday:
I am taking action to relocate the Confederate statues. We have thoroughly examined this issue, and heard from many of our citizens.— Mayor Jim Gray (@JimGrayLexKY) August 12, 2017
The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week.— Mayor Jim Gray (@JimGrayLexKY) August 12, 2017
Tuesday I will ask Council to support Lexington’s petition to the Ky Military Heritage Commission, a required next step. Details to come.— Mayor Jim Gray (@JimGrayLexKY) August 12, 2017
Lexington's Confederate statues of Breckinridge & Hunt Morgan located at our Historic Courthouse, which will soon be our new visitors center— Mayor Jim Gray (@JimGrayLexKY) August 12, 2017
This is the exact opposite of what the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville wanted. But by trying to impose their will on other cities, they have actively sped up the very thing they’re protesting against.
The protests themselves went seriously wrong, with brawls breaking out throughout the two days and a car crashing into counterprotesters demonstrating against white nationalists. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer and the University of Virginia Medical Center have confirmed that at least one person died and at least 19 are being treated for injuries as a result of the entire day’s events.
Seeing these events, it’s not hard to imagine why a mayor would want to act quickly to condemn such hate and violence. Mayor Gray is just taking it one step further, fast-tracking plans to take down monuments that commemorate a group of rebels who literally fought to keep slavery in America.