This Mayor Isn't Giving An Inch To White Nationalists In His Response To Charlottesville

Like-minded Americans are fighting back.

This weekend's violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. ended tragically, with one demonstrator dead and 19 more injured after a car plowed into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters. Two Virginia State Police officers were also confirmed dead following a helicopter crash seven miles southwest of the city. The helicopter was reportedly part of a larger effort to survey the rally and its skirmishes from the air. 

News of the Unite The Right protest, its aims and its ends, prompted widespread condemnation from politicians and social media posters alike. People publicly mourned those lost in the two crashes and reflected on the implications of the swastika-heavy protest, which was organized in response to the planned removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

While witnessing the day's events, many, including Lexington, Kentucky Mayor Jim Gray, were stirred to action.  

Like Charlottesville, Lexington has controversial Confederate-era statues. 

Like Charlottesville, Lexington will remove them, according to Gray. Even if it will provoke the alt-right.

According to The Lexington Herald-Leader, Gray's next step will be to petition a local council to request the state military commission's permission to move the statues to a more appropriate location, where they can be viewed as pieces of history, rather than in places of honor. 

Vice Mayor Steve Kay told The Herald-Leader that he expected the council to comply.

"I think this is a good solution and the right thing to do," Kay told the publication. "I think moving the statues to Veterans Park will allow the city to still honor history. But we will also be able to add additional signage to give the statues the appropriate context and explain how they came to be and what was going on in Lexington at that time."

Gray was joined in his defiance of Unite The Right's stated aims by people from across the country. One woman tweeted out a list of Charlottesville charities folks could donate to that "those Nazi jerks would really hate," including the town's NAACP chapter and Charlottesville Pride. And, as reported by HuffPost's Christopher Mathias, many Charlottesville businesses demonstrated their ideals as well, closing down for the day to protest the protests.

"If equality and diversity aren't for you," one sign read, "then neither are we."

(H/T: Vox)
Cover image via Shutterstock / Henryk Sadura.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.