Non-profit director says Lee removal creates space for conversations on race

Non-profit director says Lee removal creates space for conversations on race
Posted at 11:02 AM, Sep 09, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond non-profit leader said that he anticipates that the Lee monument coming down could have an impact on racial reconciliation in the city.

The Lee monument was removed from Monument Avenue by crews on Wednesday morning. The removal garnered both local and national attention with spectators showing up to watch the statue be taken down.

David Bailey, the Executive Director of Arrabon, said the removal creates an opportunity to build a new narrative that reflects the times in which we currently live and the principles we value today.

He noted that when the monument went up more than 130 years ago, the culture and outlook on society were very different.

When it comes to faith, Bailey said that in the past, Christianity has been used as a tool to justify some of the ideals the Lee statue and the Confederacy represented. To this day, many people are still confronted by many systemic societal scars.

Bailey said that no matter what faith community you belong to, you still have an important role to play.

"One of the things that we always want to encourage folks to do is have some imagination. If you're homogeneous, if you're at an all-Black church, all-white church or all immigrant church, ask the question. What can we do to bring wholeness and healing to our community? Particularly around the issues of race, class and culture?" Bailey said.

Bailey said the Civil War is a significant part of American history and he hopes that Wednesday's events lead to more accurate teaching of this history in a more proper setting and context.

He also hopes to see the faith community lead on the road to reconciliation in our communities.