Petition to replace Confederate monument with statue of Missy Elliott signed by thousands
Thousands of people have signed a petition to replace a Confederate monument in Virginia with a statue of rapper Missy Elliott.
Nearly 8,500 people signed the petition which calls for the Confederate monument in Olde Towne, Portsmouth, to be removed and replaced with something which "encapsulates the culture and spirit of the city".
The author of the petition said Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott was the best person to represent the city's culture.
According to the author, "Missy is all of us" and represents "everything the Confederacy was not".
An artist and music producer, Melissa Arnette Elliott was born in Portsmouth in 1971.
"Hailing from humble beginnings as the only child of a power company dispatcher and a welder at Portsmouth's lauded naval shipyard, she rose to become a platinum recording artists with over 30 million albums sold. All this without even once owning a slave," the petition reads.
It adds: "Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it."
The petition will be delivered to Portsmouth mayor John L Rowe if it reaches 10,000 signatures.
It comes after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent last weekend. Since that event, many communities in towns and municipalities across the country have seen a renewed sense of urgency to remove Confederate monuments.
The debate around Confederate statues has led an old divide to resurface between those who believe they represent Southern heritage and should be preserved and those who argue they represent a violent and racist history and should be removed.
In Charlottesville, discussions over plans to keep the statue of Confederate leader General Robert E Lee led to the clash of the white supremacist rally and counter-rally and the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Now campaigns and protests for the statues to be removed have spread throughout the country. In Baltimore, Maryland, four statues were removed over night following a unanimous decision by the city's authorities and in Lexington, Kentucky, statues are set to be moved from their prominent places outside the courthouse.
The debate over whether or not to remove Confederate statues and monuments is not new but the events in Charlottesville have shown the extent to which the issue is divisive.
Independent News Service