Confederate Statues Debate Takes center Stage Across Texas

Activists gather around the Robert E. Lee statute at Lee Park chanting the names of Civil War era activists Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Dallas. John Fullinwider, president of the Dallas Peace Center hopes the gathering will prompt a dialogue with city officials regarding what to do with the confederate symbols around the city. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

By Bill O’Neil

The debate over the future for Confederate monuments in Texas has taken center stage across the Lone Star State.

There are already pushes for removing such monuments in Austin. In San Antonio, the process has begun–led by Council Members Roberto Trevino and “Cruz” Shaw–when it comes to moving the Monument to the Confederate War Dead out of Travis Park. That effort is focused at this point on “re-locating” the monument.

In Dallas, the debate over a number of Confederate statues is also beginning to heat up.

“They were erected as a sign of the enduring legacy of white supremacy” said Pastor Michael Waters.

It’s a position that has plenty of support across that city.

“I would implore our Mayor to call for the immediate removal of these Confederate monuments” one man said.

There’s plenty of opposition to that position as well.

“I see my family (in looking at the statues)” said one man, adding “My family helped develop Dallas.”

Another let his emotions show in voicing his disagreement with the push to remove Dallas’ Confederate statues.

“My family fought to save their farm under this flag” he shouted.

Against that backdrop, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is trying to take the lead, calling for the creation of a task force to take a closer look at the issue–and to make recommendations on what should be done with those monuments.

Rawlings calls the discussion a “gift” to his community.

“We need to take advantage of this gift… to learn how we listen to one another–and not get caught up in wedge issues” Rawlings said.

The Mayor also said he will be seeking advice on the topic from the Dallas Holocaust Museum.

“I think people understanding that we’ve had our own holocaust in here this country for the last couple hundred years is a different way to think about this… and I think our children will be better for it” Rawlings said.

As the debate unfolds, Rawlings has called for calm on both sides.

“The greatest defining moment is how we treat others that disagree with you” Rawlings said.

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