In brief: Coronavirus clusters, CRB concerns, and more

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Rogers that

A statue of an old racist general in Charlottesville has once again been recontextualized—UVA’s George Rogers Clark monument was splattered with an impressive arc of red paint in the middle of the night on Sunday.

Clark was a general during the United States’ violent westward expansion in the 19th century. The statue shows Native American people cowering in front of Clark’s horse and declares Clark the “conqueror of the northwest,” a designation that UVA historian Christian McMillen called “absurd” in a July UVA Today article about the statue.

The statue was erected during the same period as the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monuments downtown and the Lewis and Clark statue on Main Street. The Lee and Jackson statues have been graffitied many times, most recently in May.

A petition for the removal of the Clark statue circulated last year, and earlier this month UVA’s Racial Equity Task Force recommended that the monument come down. On Monday morning, the school dispatched a crew to clean the statue.

ACPS bans confederate imagery

On August 13, one day after the third anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, the Albemarle County School Board voted to amend the dress code to ban all Confederate imagery in its schools, as well as other hate symbols, including the swastikas. The new section of the code states that these images “cause substantial disruption to the educational environment and, therefore, are prohibited.”

At a school board meeting two years ago, six activists from the Hate-Free Schools Coalition were arrested—and one was hospitalized—while lobbying for this change. Less than a year later, the school board discussed banning Confederate imagery, but the change wasn’t made until this summer.

“DO NOT praise them for *finally* doing the right thing. We worked for this for years,” tweeted the Hate-Free Schools Coalition after the meeting.—Claudia Gohn

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Quote of the week

[Are] these cameras going to be used to prosecute anybody,
such as the self-styled monument guards who have been documented to be armed and threatening?

City resident Brad Slocum, speaking to City Council on the new security cameras installed in downtown parks

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In brief

Playing the heel

Just a week into the semester, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill already has four COVID-19 clusters reported on campus—three in school-run residence halls and one in a fraternity house. (To quote the Daily Tar Heel, the university’s student paper, UNC “has a clusterfuck on its hands.”)  UVA, meanwhile, is still sticking to its plan to bring students back in person in early September.

Bad blood

The fraught relationship between Charlottesville’s Police Civilian Review Board and City Council reached an all-time low during the CRB’s meeting last week, with multiple board members revealing they’ve contemplated resigning. “They want to have this veneer of progressiveness by having us exist, but they’ll only do what they want to do,” said member Stuart Evans.

Senator charged

Just one day before the General Assembly convened for a special session on criminal justice reform, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene announced that State Senator Louise Lucas had been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and “injury to a monument” in excess of $1,000. Two months ago, Lucas showed up to a demonstration at Portsmouth’s Confederate monument, and told police not to arrest the protesters planning to paint it. Protesters dismantled the monument hours after Lucas left the scene, which she says she did not condone.

ACRJ confirmed its first inmate cases of COVID-19 last week. PC: Skyclad Aerial

Jail outbreak

Four inmates at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail tested positive for COVID last week, according to data from the Thomas Jefferson Health District. Jails and prisons around the country have had serious COVID outbreaks in recent months, but the ACRJ had been a success story up to this point.

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Mitchell carr
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Mitchell carr

1) There is no evidence that Clark was racist. 2)The “impressive arc” description seems to imply that C-ville sanctions illegal vandalism? 3)Since the statue was erected at the same time frame as the others, how is it that this one with no direct link to slavery or the war was built in the same vein of white supremacy over blacks? Could it be that the motivation for all of them was not racial but patriotic to great Americans? (He died in 1818 42 years before the civil was even started.) 4) Will the school board ban ANTFA and BLM garments… Read more »

Anthony Lopez
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Anthony Lopez

The George Rogers Clark Statue Disposition Committee of the Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Group at UVA is proposing development of a Native American and Indigenous Studies Center to be located on the grounds of the University of Virginia, at the current site of the George Rogers Clark (GRC) Memorial Statue, located at 13th NW and Main St. in Charlottesville, VA. (est. -1 acre with estimated buildable area = 4-5000 sq. ft.), or at an alternative mitigation site that would be agreed upon by the Native American and University stakeholders. The multi-story facility is tentatively envisioned as a constellation… Read more »