Decatur Commission tables Confederate monument proposal, goes on record supporting removal

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 18, 2017

After the Stand With Charlottesville candlelight vigil on August 13. 2017, in Decatur, Ga., attendees gather to discuss the controversial “Lost Cause” monument in Decatur Square.

This story has been updated. 

At its regular meeting on Sept. 18 the Decatur City Commission tabled a $40,000 proposal that would’ve added context to a controversial Confederate monument on the Decatur Square.

The commission did vote unanimously to adopt a resolution added by Commissioner Tony Powers, who is black, asking the commission to go on record to support removal of the monument. Currently, state law prohibits removal of these monuments and the monument is owned by DeKalb County.

The resolution asks the state Legislature to change the law in question and says the commission supports any action the DeKalb County Commission would take to remove the monument.

Mayor Patti Garrett said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond is willing to ask the county attorney to ask the state attorney general for clarity on the current state law.

The commission’s decision followed more than an hour of public comments that were unanimously against the idea of placing additional markers at the monument. Many of the people speaking urged the city to take a harder stance against the monument. Activists have demanded the monument’s removal in the wake of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. that resulted in the deaths of three people and have held a rally and a discussion in the city’s downtown to support removing it.

Hate Free Decatur, the group leading the fight to remove the monument, praised the commission’s decision following the meeting.

“At the September 18 Decatur City Commission meeting, Commissioner Tony Powers introduced a resolution acknowledging that the placement of the white supremacist Confederate monument on Decatur Square hinders the City’s quest for inclusivity, equity, and justice for all,” the group said in a statement. “In addition to urging the Georgia legislature to change OCGA 50-3-1 and give local decision-making powers back to communities, the resolution supported action by DeKalb County to move the monument off of the Square. The resolution passed unanimously. Hate Free Decatur thanks Commissioner Powers and the Decatur City Commission for finally taking a public stance against this symbol of white supremacy. Now it is time for the DeKalb County Commission to take action and remove this blight from the face of our community.”

Decaturish sent a reporter to the meeting and there will publish a longer story on Sept. 19.

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