Cities nationwide are contemplating whether to dismantle Confederate monuments in the aftermath of Charlottesville’s white nationalist car attack.
In Dallas, officials are debating the future of Lee Park’s Robert E. Lee statue and Downtown’s Confederate War Memorial. Even Dallas ISD is considering whether to change the name of schools synonymous with the confederacy, like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson elementaries.
Race has never been simple, especially not in our city. Here are some of Dallas’ most influential figures and their response to Charlottesville.
Mayor Mike Rawlings
On Monday, Rawlings issued a statement that read:
“The events in Charlottesville this past weekend were horrifying to watch. The city of Dallas joins the rest of the country in mourning Heather Heyer, as well as the two fallen Virginia State Police troopers. People that support Neo-Nazis and white supremacists should be called out for what they are: pure evil. There is no place for such bigotry in our society. I look forward to discussing this and related issues tomorrow at noon at City Hall.”
But controversy erupted once he suggested a 90-day task force, called the “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Team,” to determine the fate of the city’s confederate monuments.
While Rawlings believes the task force promotes dialogue about segregation, other Dallas officials think the issue isn’t all that complicated.
Councilman Philip Kingston thinks Rawlings’ task force will only slow the decision-making process. The East Dallas representative is one of five City Council members (sort of) who proposed an ordinance to remove the Dallas’ confederate remnants. The city would vote on that ordinance Sept. 13, and then a task force would decide on the monuments’ fate.
“When Ted Cruz and I are on the same side, there isn’t much room on the other side,” he told the Lakewood Advocate.
Initially, Casey Thomas was one of the City Council members whose signature put the legislation on the Sept. 13 meeting agenda. (Five signatures are required for a vote.) Then the southwest Dallas representative pulled his name, much to the shock of Kingston, Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano and Mark Clayton.
Thomas has yet to cite his reasoning, although some suspect it was a political move that Rawlings encouraged.
City Councilman Omar Narvaez, who represents West Dallas, then stepped in to add his name.
Meanwhile, Dallas ISD is having a similar discussion.
Dustin Marshall, who represents Preston Hollow and East Dallas, penned an Op-Ed for the Dallas Morning News about renaming schools that honor confederate generals.
“We cannot sit idly by as racial bigots march through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., and hope that white supremacy doesn’t come to Dallas,” he wrote. “Sadly, it is already here and has been for a long time. We need to unmask racism, and that means uprooting its symbols.”
Miguel Solis was the first of the Dallas ISD board members to consider changing these schools’ names. He took to Twitter Monday to garner support:
It's past time to change the name of all confederate schools in @dallasschools. Looking for leaders to join me in making the change.
— Miguel Solis (@SolisforDISD) August 14, 2017
Dan Micciche, president of the board, called Charlottesville “a terrible tragedy” and believes “the Board will strongly support the renaming of schools that honor Confederate generals under either the current process or an expedited process.”
As always, let us know what you think.