Juneteenth: Remove Confederate Memorials.
Today is Juneteenth, which marks the anniversary of the official end of the Civil War and abolition of slavery (the news didn’t reach Texas until six months after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, some say because the slave owners wanted to fit in one more cotton harvest). Despite over a century passing since then, traumatizing dedications to Confederate generals still stand all across the nation — even in liberal strongholds. Your #DailyRevolution is to choose one of these memorials, either in your hometown or elsewhere, and send a letter defending the memorial’s removal.
Last month, New Orleans removed the last of four remaining monuments to the Confederacy, as part of a rising national tide to do away with any statue or edifice named in honor of defenders of slavery. Southern states have been fielding these requests for years, from buildings dedicated to Jefferson Davis to proudly-flown Confederate flags. But it isn’t just the southern states affected by this antebellum nostalgia.
In Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood, the main drag on the city’s only active military base is named General Lee Avenue, after Robert E. Lee — but Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, representing New York’s Ninth District, is out to change that. Rep. Clarke has organized the Brooklyn congressional delegation to co-author a letter to the Army secretary requesting a renaming of the street, and they are sending that letter out today in honor of the Juneteenth holiday commemorating the end of slavery.
Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states, and is celebrated with a wide range of parades, barbecues, rodeos, readings, and historical reenactments. But we still remain far from full racial parity in the United States. This fact was underscored last week by the decision to let Philando Castile’s killer go free,* and is apparent in every memorial to the Confederacy that stubbornly stands today.
For your #DailyRevolution, join Clarke in penning a letter to the Army secretary explaining why you think it’s important to remove dedications to the men who defended slavery. Alternately, you can also seek out a memorial in your hometown or elsewhere and write a letter to the local municipality demanding its removal. Wikipedia has a handy list of all of them, so you can find the one closest to you!
Address all letters to the Army secretary to the following address:
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
*As an effort to remain accessible and inclusive, ANYR refrains from daily actions that require monetary contributions. However, if you're able, we’re adding a bonus #DailyRevolution today in light of the acquittal of the police officer who shot Philando Castile. As more and more police officers literally get away with murder and our protests go largely ignored, it’s easy to feel powerless. Combat this feeling by taking this bonus action today: Make a donation (no size too small) to the Philando Castile Scholarship, sponsored by the African American Leadership Forum. Money raised will be given to graduates of J.J. Hill Elementary School, where Philando worked and was beloved, to help them pursue post-secondary education opportunities.