“Robert E. Lee standing here on Monument Avenue is very symbolic to the Confederate mindset, you know the levels of oppression that people feel on a regular day-to-day basis,” West said. “With the coming down of the monument it is also a part of coming down with those types of ideals. It brings some closure to the conversation, ‘It’s OK to be racist’.”
Patrick McSweeney, an attorney for residents along Monument Avenue in one of the lawsuits, told CNN on Tuesday that he had informed the Virginia Supreme Court that he will request a rehearing.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, on Tuesday countered that the state’s high court “stated plainly that the prior injunction pending appeal was dissolved ‘immediately.'”
Combating oppression at the local level
The statue will be placed in secure storage at a state-owned facility until a decision is made on its further disposition, officials said in a news release Monday. The 40-foot granite pedestal the Lee statue sits on will remain in place during a community-driven effort to “reimagine” Monument Avenue, according to officials.
A time capsule at the monument is also set to be replaced with a new capsule made by Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale that will include 39 artifacts. A photo taken of a Black ballerina at the monument last summer, a Covid-19 vaccination card and Kente cloth are some of the items to be included.
The pedestal, West told CNN, should go into a museum to be preserved as an artifact from a historical moment.
“This is ground zero and this expression has to be defended,” he said, adding there is more to be done following the monument’s removal, including curbing gun violence — an issue Stoney declared a public health crisis in May.
“It’s not just the overall symbols of oppression and the general oppression ideals that we need to combat. We also need to combat things on the local level as well,” West said.
CNN’s Deanna Hackney and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.