Gwinnett County commissioners in Atlanta, Georgia, voted on Tuesday to remove a confederate statue in Lawrenceville's square in a unanimous decision. AJC reports the statue will be removed and placed in storage for the next 30 days until a legal decision is made on where it should go since Georgia state law prohibits the removal or relocation of Confederate monuments unless it's for "the preservation, protection, or interpretation" of them. Commissioners said the statue had been vandalized twice and leaving it in its current location would possibly result in more damage.
The statue in question has the depiction of an early confederate flag along with the picture of a confederate soldier on it. It shows the dates 1861-1865 as well as an inscription saying, "Lest We Forget" and a quote from Winston Churchill. It was posted near the 1911 lynching site of Charles Hale and, maybe not so coincidentally, was erected as the county's minority population began to grow. A member of the Gwinnett Remembrance Project Coalition, Curtis Clemons told AJC the statue served as a hollow threat to minority residents. “To have that removed is the beginning of healing,” he said. “There’s hope for progress.”
Kirkland Carden, a county commissioner, agreed with the decision. "To me, it’s a huge deal,” Carden said. “Before we can address the bigger problems, we have to address some of the fiction, the systemic racism, we are taught.” Though, some citizens like Shirley Ice, a Lawrenceville resident, felt the decision to get rid of the figure may not be the right move, given the current context. "Why is this necessary?” Ice asked. “Are we trying to erase history just to say that we can do it?” She continued telling commissioners that the decision “doesn’t seem to be a way to bring us together in these rough and tumble times... It doesn’t seem too offensive to me, and I’m a good, taxpaying citizen."
The chair of Gwinnett’s Republican party, Edward Muldrow also agreed with the decision –– even saying that the statue should've been removed a long time ago. “Anybody in 1993 that thought this would be a good idea definitely had bad intentions,” Muldrow said. “If this was a matter of history, where were the monuments and statues to the victors?”