The recommendations and discussions surrounding the Confederate flag controversy have focused only upon the negative aspects for and against the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans. I believe these conversations are overlooking an important opportunity: Turn the “problem” into a positive outcome for everyone.
One objection to removal says so many of our citizens just don’t know the source or meaning of these monuments, so leave it alone; why spend money to spark controversy making little difference in our daily lives? True. Yet, those who favor removal do know about these structures and see them as perpetuating prejudice and discrimination, etc. Also true.
My proposition. Let’s leave the monuments where they are. Let’s spend “removal” money to educate the public. Erect markers nearby explaining the monuments’ origins, who made them, when, what was being memorialized, and also stating “where we went wrong.” Let’s also develop high-quality history lessons for our schools, tourists and residents.
Only through education can we create a common understanding among all our citizens and leaders. And, only then can we engage in meaningful dialogue. Visiting these sites will forever remind us of our resolve to overcome the errors of the past. I believe we have the chance now to see every segment of our city working together toward an even better place to live, work and play.