A peace pole petition will be presented to the Blue Ribbon Commission

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Charlottesville, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The controversy surrounding Confederate statues and monuments representing war heroes is an ongoing battle around the nation and it's tipping scales here in Charlottesville.

A local man is taking action to ease tensions, proposing that a symbol of peace be added to downtown Charlottesville.

Referring to the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park, peace activist David Swanson says, "I would like this monument removed along with many others because it's a pro-war monument."

Swanson hopes to change the one-sided depiction of war that he feels is represented in Charlottesville. As a resident of the city, he believes monuments of the Native American genocide, the defense of slavery, and the slaughter of 3.8 million Vietnamese dominate the area.

Swanson is proposing the addition of a peace pole to Downtown Charlottesville and created a petition to start the movement.

"Whether it's removed or other monuments are added to the public spaces of Charlottesville, there ought to be something added for peace," says Swanson. "That's missing and ought to be seen in Charlottesville."

The Blue Ribbon Commission tasked with finding a solution to Charlottesville's monuments took a look at the petition that's racked up over 160 signatures, including one from Jeffrey Fogel.

One member of the commission said that he liked the idea of the peace pole, but would need to see whether or not it fits the criteria the commission has been charged with.

"It is true, we do have a history of war, but we also a history of peace. Something that would bring that idea to the forefront is something I would look favorably on. I don't know if the peace pole is the right idea, but we will look at it," said Frank Dukes, one of the Blue Ribbon Commissioners.

"It's a very simple inexpensive, symbolic notion that reminds people that peace has something to do with how they live their lives right here in Charlottesville everyday," says Fogel.

Fogel moved to the area 10 years ago and was shocked by the monuments placed around the city.

"When I got here and saw that the most prominent statues were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, it didn't reflect the image that had been created of this progressive city," says Fogel. "We need to remove some of the hypocrisy of the city, so it can grapple with the real problems."

Fogel adds that the real problems the city should be focused on are education, employment, housing, etc.

For just $200, the peace pole will read "may peace prevail on Earth" on all sides, written in different languages, serving as a daily reminder that peace is an option.

There's no proposed location for the peace pole, just as long as it's public and in Downtown Charlottesville.

Ideally, Swanson would like to see the pole unveiled Sept 21, which is the International Day of Peace.



 
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