Chelsey Carter, graduate student of sociocultural anthropology in Arts & Sciences
After temporarily removing Christopher Columbus statues from Chicago parks, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Aug. 12 the “Project to Assess Memorials and Monuments in the City’s Public Art Collection.” Members of this project will form an advisory committee with local artists, academics and public officials to promote “racial healing and historical reckoning” for the Chicago community through final recommendations for existing and new monuments.
This announcement represents a dramatic reversal from July, when Lightfoot sent in police to protect a Columbus statue as protesters tried to topple it. The Chicago police officers used chemical agents and batons on protesters to disperse them, even throwing the bicycles that protesters were using as shields back at the group. What will Lightfoot’s process of healing and reckoning entail in a city demanding racial justice from the city’s first Black woman mayor?
If Lightfoot and other mayors want to reckon with the history of white supremacy and heal from it, these statues should be removed from their cities permanently.
Read the full piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.