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Opinion/Letter: Costs of Confederate sites continue to mount

Opinion/Letter: Costs of Confederate sites continue to mount

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I'm writing in response to the Oct. 6 Daily Progress story about the more than $100,000 Albemarle County spent for removal of the “At Ready” Confederate soldier statue that's been positioned in front of the county courthouse, located within Charlottesville, since early in the past century.

I'd like to point out that, according to the Equal Justice Institute, as of January 2019 Virginia taxpayers had funded upwards of $9 million to maintain Confederate graves. Security by state police and local authorities for the white supremacist Unite the Right Rally, which was inspired to protect Confederate statues in Charlottesville, cost more than $916,000, according to The Daily Progress; and, also according to the Daily Progress, state taxpayers spent $3.1 million on protective measures for the anniversary of the rally.

Based on these figures alone, if we had never erected these statues and provided Confederate grave maintenance, the state, Charlottesville, Albemarle and the University of Virginia would have saved more than $13 million in total. And Heather Heyer would still be alive.

I've delineated costs in cash and one human life, but even this is oversimplified. These statues were put up to intimidate, not to celebrate. It's impossible to calculate the human costs of our failure to remove these statues sooner and our failure to commit to protect our citizens equally sooner.

Jody Hesler


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