I can understand people wanting to keep some Confederate monuments around to memorialize their fallen loved ones, but that is the reasoning our government wants you to believe. However, those monuments were put up with the intention to further ideals of white supremacy. Most of these monuments were built in the 1950s and 1960s during crucial civil rights movements. [Editor’s note: Athens’ monument was erected in 1872.) The civil rights movements in the ‘50s and ‘60s were a pivotal time for our country to go through important changes for civil liberties. Conveniently erecting these Confederate statues during this time is a slap in the face for everyone fighting for equality. This situation has its parallels with the current condition of civil rights movements and Black Lives Matter.
Speaking of civil rights and equality, I think it is fitting to replace the monument on Broad Street with a rainbow crosswalk as requested by the Athens PRIDE organization, and to announce this in June during Pride is perfect. I think moving the monument to the only place where there even was any Civil War action in Athens is a perfect compromise, because for those who wish to have a way to memorialize their fallen loved ones, they will still have that monument in a more fitting location. As for defunding the police and the commission’s plans to implement and budget for it, I think it is a wonderful idea, and it is nice to see that there are compromises instead of one group or another giving up something completely. You cannot make everyone happy, but you can make things right as best you can. Commissioner Mariah Parker’s idea to cut the number of police officers in half over a 10-year period is a good way to transition into prioritizing public health and child care, which will as a natural result eliminate a lot of issues that would cause police to be involved. If we help people at the root of the issues and begin where they are, be understanding and try to help, a lot of problems will be eliminated.
As a social worker who is currently working on her master’s degree at UGA, I can speak to the need for social workers to help people, more so now than ever before. It is and has been on us to connect people to the proper resources they need to live life like everyone else: happy and healthy. Sometimes people need a little extra help or some guidance. Not all police officers are bad. I think it would be a great idea to have social workers working in tandem with police officers because we can all learn a great deal from each other. As with any issue, it all begins at home, with the individual; and placing time, effort and funds into public health and childcare is the perfect way to begin the journey to equality and coexisting as one nation like we should.
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