By Alex Nnabue
Takoma Park is debating whether or not to change the names of streets in the city that are named after Confederate Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. City panels have been held to hear the opinions of the local residents. While some are in favor of altering the street names, others claim that the act would be a hassle for residents and whitewash history.
The ongoing debate is directly associated with the greater protests that have been occurring throughout the country as citizens are demanding that monuments of Confederate generals should be taken down. The sole purpose of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA last August was to oppose the removal of a Robert E. Lee monument. Protesters for the cause included white supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis. It is evident that those groups support signs and statues that honor Confederate soldiers because they memorialize an outdated government system that was based on slavery and white supremacist beliefs, not because they symbolize history and tradition. The street signs certainly honor that ideology as it denies the brutality and racist actions of the generals by allowing their influence to live on. Inclusive public spaces are essential for a country that is aiming to unite its citizens and rid itself of its discriminatory history.