The Charlottesville, Virginia, parks whose renaming sparked a deadly far-right protest last summer are once again getting new names, according to a report.
The green spaces were named for Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, until the city decided to change the titles to Emancipation Park and Justice Park last year.
That prompted white supremacists from all over the country to descend on the town for “Unite the Right” protests last August — with one agitator allegedly plowing his car into a group of counter-protesters and killing innocent activist Heather Hyer.
City officials voted Monday to rename the parks again with the apolitical names of Market Street Park and Court Square Park, according to a local paper, the Daily Progress.
The parks still feature statues of the treasonous Confederates, and residents found the pairing of enlightenment ideals such as justice and emancipation strange alongside the symbols of oppression. And so, rather than remove the statues, the city decided to rename the parks again.
“There’s no reason why the names can’t change again when people feel the parks really warrant it. But right now the statues are a big issue in those parks,” said City Councilor Kathy Galvin.
Only Councilor Wes Bellamy dissented in the 4-1 vote.
“When we choose neutral or easy names, it allows us to not deal with some of the issues we’ve had,” he said, noting the community’s “reluctance” to confront controversial issues. “It doesn’t make us have to think critically about what’s going on. But if that’s the will of the people, so be it.”
The decision comes as Unite the Right organizers are preparing for an anniversary rally in August.
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