RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam issued the following statement after the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the Commonwealth’s favor in Taylor v. Northam and Gregory v. Northam, affirming the Commonwealth’s authority to remove the Robert E. Lee Monument. The rulings clear the way for Virginia to remove the statue, the largest confederate monument in the South.
“Today’s ruling is a tremendous win for the people of Virginia. Our public memorials are symbols of who we are and what we value. When we honor leaders who fought to preserve a system that enslaved human beings, we are honoring a lost cause that has burdened Virginia for too many years.
“I am grateful to Attorney General Mark Herring, my former counsel Rita Davis, and all those who worked so hard for this victory. This ruling is an important step towards moving the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Richmond forward into a more inclusive, just future.
“Today it is clear—the largest Confederate monument in the South is coming down.”
The Commonwealth has been preparing for this moment for many months. Today’s ruling allows the Department of General Services to begin executing a plan that prioritizes public safety. This process is complicated by several logistical and security concerns, including street closures and the equipment required to ensure the safe removal of the 12-ton statue. Ultimately removal of the statue will be a multi-day process; while crews are moving quickly, no action on the statue is expected this week.
For more information as the timeline and process move forward, please follow @VAMonument2021 on Twitter and Facebook.
STATEMENT: Removal of Robert E. Lee Statue from Monument Avenue, Richmond
The Removal of Robert E. Lee Statue from Monument Avenue, Richmond
“This morning, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the removal of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee statue from state property on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
Spokeswoman Jacqueline Hixson released a statement on the removal of the statue on behalf of the Virginia Democratic Caucus,
“The removal of the statue, along with many others across the Commonwealth, signifies a new era of inclusion—where students will learn the whole history of Virginia and the United States, and we lift up all voices from our past and present.
“As Senate Democrats look toward our future, we are focused on continuing to build a Virginian legacy that embodies who we are and who we hope to become.”