Published on August 23rd, 2017 | by TLV News0
March in Charlottesville Sparks Open Forum for LOU Community
An open forum was held at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library Tuesday, August 21. The gathering was sparked by the recent march in Charlottesville, North Carolina. The organizers, who asked to remain anonymous due to the already large amount of threats they had received, were quick to clarify that this event was not about any one topic. It was a place for open ended conversation.
Attendees filled the majority of the library’s auditorium. Young faces peppered the crowd, with most of those present being older community members. Those present ranged from lifelong residents to Ole Miss students and recent transplants who had been living in the community for just barely a year.
In an effort to give everyone a chance to be heard, the organizers had a structured question for each person to answer: who are you, what brought you here, and why is it important to you? People stuck to the structure with varying degrees of success. While some merely introduced themselves, others went into impassioned speeches of how they did or did not want confederate symbols in the community or how there is simply a lack of resources available to the non-white communities.
Views were varied. Some called for complete removal of the statue and confederate flag, citing the pain it caused them to see such a time immortalized. Many suggested that the statues not be destroyed but rather relocated to a museum or somewhere that better contextualizes their existence. Constructing monuments that represent the African Americans who fought for the confederacy was also an idea that was well received. One gentleman brought the magnolia flag that in recent years was proposed to replace the current flag. He cited its use during reconstruction as a way towards reconciliation over state imagery.
The vast majority of those in attendance were open to compromise with the ideals of others and want to create more inclusivity in the community. The open forum lasted for nearly two hours, halted only by the closing of the library.