By Destiny Camacho
SAN ANTONIO—Statues and monuments across the United States are disappearing overnight. The Confederacy that was memorialized in stone and metal is now a source of violence and hate.
It all started in 2015 when a mass shooting in a predominantly black church occurred killing nine people. The shooter posed with the Confederate flag which sparked rage and the eventual removal of the flag from the South Carolina capitol building. This led to other state officials questioning their own confederate symbols and whether they should be removed. Since 2015, more than twenty cities across the United States, including Austin and San Antonio, have removed around forty monuments, plaques, and statues.
It’s not a one-sided argument, many individuals are against the removal of these symbols and others are unsure how they feel. According to an NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist Poll, which was conducted among 1,125 U.S. citizens 18 years or older, 62 percent want the monuments to remain while 27 percent want them to be removed.
Arguments about whether or not this is a form of censorship have been circling around social media. Recently, President Trump tweeted his opinion on the issue.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump said. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”
Trump suggested that the removal of Confederate statues could lead to the removal of monuments to the US’s founding fathers.
“Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Trump tweeted. “Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
The recent removal of the Confederate statue in downtown San Antonio’s Travis Park brought this issue a little closer to home. A few OLLU students expressed opinions on its removal.
“I think the move was a good idea because although it’s part of our history, it’s no longer relevant in today’s society,” Madaline Marquez said. “We are a country of diversity and our success exists only because of the true diversity that is among us. We have come far from the days of slavery and hatred and we must continue to inspire future generations.”
Some are just trying to understand why it has become such a big deal around the country.
“Honestly, I’ve never noticed it. So to make a big deal about something that probably looks better in a museum is kind of funny,” Chloe Brown said.
Each side has their reasons for wanting to win the battle and as more reminders of the past are removed and taken elsewhere it is becoming clearer that change is coming.