Eight Texas Democratic lawmakers want seven memorials to the Confederacy and Confederate leaders removed from Texas’ Capitol grounds.
A letter sent Monday to state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and state Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), leaders of the Senate and House administration committees, calls for the renaming of the John H. Reagan State Office Building and the removal of the following:
- a portrait of Albert Sidney Johnston in the Senate Chamber
- a portrait of Dick Dowling in the House Chamber
- cannons used by the Confederates during the Civil War
- the Confederate Soldiers’ Monument on the south grounds
- Hood’s Texas Brigade Monument on the east grounds, which includes a Confederate flag carved into the monument and quotes from Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee
- a portrait of Davis in the Senate Chamber
- Benjamin Terry’s Texas Rangers monument on the south grounds.
The Democratic letter senders are state Sen. Nathan Johnson and state Rep. Rafael Anchía, both of Dallas, state Rep. Donna Howard of Austin, Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio, Rep. Lina Ortega of El Paso, Rep. Carl Sherman of DeSoto, Rep. Shawn Thierry of Houston and Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo.
“The back-to-back killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked protests across our country, including some reaching the tens of thousands here in Texas. As a result of the senseless murders of these African Americans, conversations have begun regarding criminal justice reform, law enforcement priorities, issues related to race relations, and the age-old debate related to Confederate monuments and memorials,” reads the letter to the two Republican committee leaders.
The letter asks, “as legislators, we are uniquely positioned to make decisions that impact the lives of so many. And today we find ourselves at a crossroad — we will situate ourselves on the right side of history by removing these symbols of hostility, or will we continue to side with the ‘tradition’ and ignore the ills of our past?”