Shannon LaNier
Shannon LaNier

by Shannon LaNier

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

Those are the words of my sixth great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson, as he wrote them in the Declaration of Independence over 200 years ago. Yet still today we are struggling to make that statement ring true.
As a black Jefferson descendant living in the land of the “free,” it burdens me in multiple ways to have to say that. I understand in perhaps a different way than most Americans the flawed ideals upon which our country was founded. As I watched the hate and violence erupt in Charlottesville, I was reminded of how far we still have to go to truly become a United States of America, where all are created equal.
The Confederate statues and monuments, like the one of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, are blatant symbols of hate, discrimination and racism. When we honor and celebrate the Confederacy in public arenas, we validate and empower the people who wish to perpetuate the hatred and division that it represents. We must no longer give power and permission to people to hate. The Confederate monuments must be removed from public places.
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