AUSTIN, Texas — After more than a month of push from supporters and discussion amongst many, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court approved the removal and relocation of the two Confederate monuments that sit in front of the courthouse.
One of the monuments is a tall Confederate obelisk that's been on the grounds since 1910.
The approval came at a commissioners court meeting on Monday, following several speakers who supported the removal. The final vote by the court was 4-0, with one of the commissioners abstaining.
According to Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape, the court appointed members to a committee to oversee the relocation of the monuments.
Below is a list of members and co-chairs of the Bastrop Monument Relocation Committee:
- Cheryl Lee, co-chair
- Sharah Johnson, co-chair
- Willy Culberson
- Damon Doss
- Don Fannin
- Bernie Jackson
- Sumai Lokumbe
- Robert Mauck
- Carl Rees
- Samella Williams
"To where we are today, it’s truly overwhelming, it’s a blessing," said Cheryl Lee, committee co-chair and one of several organizers of a petition and initiative to take down the monuments. "As I reflect back on it and I think about how separate we were, I really am just amazed and thankful that this played out in a matter where we all – we followed the process."
Back in June, the petition and effort jumpstarted by a group Lee says is now known as the "Bastrop Five" gathered nearly 10,000 signatures.
At first, bringing the discussion up in a commissioners court meeting proved difficult, but by mid-July, Pape voiced his support for the removal and relocation of the monuments after doing extensive research on what the monuments represent.
On Monday, Pape told KVUE in a statement via email, “Now is the time to right this wrong against our Black brother[s] and sisters and against all Americans. Now is the time for all of Bastrop County, and Texas, to recommit ourselves to healing the scars of the past and opening our arms and hearts to every person in our community. I am grateful for the wisdom and courage of our commissioners court to take this bold action.”
As for where the monuments will go, the agenda from a Fairview Cemetery Advisory Board meeting held on July 22 included an item to discuss movement of the monuments to Fairview Cemetery, which is owned and operated by the City of Bastrop. The board chose to table the discussion because a request has not been made from the County, according to the board's staff liaison, Tracy Waldron. When a formal request has been made by the County, the board will put it on the agenda to discuss.
The Bastrop Monument Relocation Committee is now asking businesses and people in Bastrop to help with the process of finding a new home for the monuments. They are also asking for funding and donations to help with relocation costs.
If you would like to contribute, please reach out to the committee co-chairs Cheryl Lee and Sharah Johnson.
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