North Texas Green Parties
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Contact: Shannon Carter, Collin County Co-Chair, 903-366-1767 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gary Stuard, Dallas County Co-Chair, (214) 641-8541 (email@example.com)
Wesson Gaige, Denton County Co-Chair, 214-906-2909 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GREEN PARTY CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF CONFEDERATE MEMORIALS IN NORTH TEXAS
The Green Parties across North Texas including the Collin County, Dallas County, and Denton County call upon county and city officials and school board members throughout North Texas to remove Confederate statues and rename public schools currently memorializing and, by extension, glamorizing individuals who took up arms against the nation to ensure the continued enslavement of human beings.
With hate crimes and white nationalist movements on the rise, we can no longer tolerate publically-funded and maintained symbols that reframe the Civil War as an honorable struggle for the southern way of life--or “states rights”. Instead, it truly was: a fight to save the institution of slavery. In the wake of Charlottesville’s domestic terrorism, we can no longer ignore the reality of racism nor the role Confederate monuments play in perpetuating white supremacy. Public symbols of the Confederacy do not represent “our heritage.” They represent racism’s long, enduring history.
On Friday, August 11, events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the aftermath called the world’s attention to racism’s horrifying persistence and even deadly consequences--white nationalism seemingly endorsed by President Trump who refused to publicly condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists, insisting instead there was violence “on many sides.” At a “Unite the Right” rally organized by neo-Nazis and white nationalists to protest the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue, demonstrators wearing Nazi insignia and flying Confederate flags threatened peaceful counter protesters. Violence soon erupted. At 1:00 p.m., white nationalist James Fields Jr., plowed his car directly into a crowd of counter protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Before it was all over, two others would lose their lives.
We refuse to accept arguments by those who insist the Civil War was about states’ rights. In the leadup to the Civil War, each “Ordinance of Secession” officially declaring the state’s decision to join the Confederacy foregrounded their rights to, as described in the “Texas Declaration of Secession” “maintain . . . and protect . . . the institution known as negro slavery--the servitude of the African to the white race . . . -- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist for all future time.” Each state joining the Confederacy boldly declared their strongest ties to “other slaveholding States of the Confederacy.” If the Civil War was about states’ rights, it was the state’s right to own slaves. Indeed, as this “Texas Declaration” reminds us, America’s very foundation is tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another.
We refuse to accept arguments insisting the removal of these public symbols of the Confederacy is tantamount to “erasing history.” Neither the Confederate symbols themselves nor the history they commemorate are truthful, accurate representations of what actually happened. In fact, their very existence effectively “erases history”--a long, painful history of human beings stolen from their homelands, separated from their families and communities, chained to one another, sold as property, beaten, starved, kept in bondage for 245 years, until, when the Civil War finally ended, our country promised they were, at last, “free.”
Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crow laws and customs continued to strip generations of African Americans of even the most basic freedoms. Even today, decades after the Civil Rights movement and the legal protections it helped secure, racism continues to limit and shape every facet of African American life, including extreme income disparity, limited educational opportunities, and mass incarceration, a phenomena Michelle Alexander has called the “New Jim Crow” (2012).
In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit, civil rights organization, estimated more than 1,500 public symbols of the confederation can be found across the United States. The vast majority of these were erected decades after the Civil War, with two notable spikes. The first at the turn of the 20th century, as Southern states began establishing repressive race laws. The second during the height of the civil rights movement. In other words, as David Graham has argued, “the erection of Confederate monuments has been a way to perform cultural resistance to black equality.”
Thus, with the Green Party of the United States, we “urge prosecution of white supremacist groups for domestic terrorism in the wake of racist violence in Charlottesville, . . . [and] support efforts to eradicate racism and other forms of discrimination, including removal of public monuments that glorify Confederate leaders and military personnel.” We also recognize public symbols of the confederacy are not the only forms of white supremacy commemorated across America. We categorically oppose commemoration of any form of white supremacy, whether Confederate, fascist, or otherwise.