City asked to remove statues some say honor slavery and racism

- "What pains me is that a lot of what's happening on the national level and to some degree on the state level the politics, the divisiveness, those things are now flowing down to the local level," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

And it's causing people to look at some of the historic statues around town a little differently.

"Because it represents a past that is very dark and it's something we should learn from," said Michael Leone with the Houston Young Communist League.

Leone started an online petition for the city to get rid of a statue that stands in Sam Houston Park. The Spirit of the Confederacy is a bronze statue representing an angel with a sword and a palm branch.

Leone and 500 others who signed his online petition want this statue gone and replaced with one that they say would pay respect to the victims of slavery.

"Monuments like this don't do that properly," Leone said. "They try to romanticize and treat it as something worthy of praise."

"We're living in some sensitive times right now," the mayor said. "It is important for people of goodwill, for leaders to say no to bigotry, no to hatred."

The mayor says he's asking one of his executive directors to review the city's entire inventory of confederacy statues.

He says he wants to research the proper context of the statues before deciding if they should stay or go.

The mayor says he doesn't want to eliminate history or the fact that slavery occurred.

"Let's do it in such a way that we are not destroying each other," Turner said."And if that happens then that ugly history of the past is still functioning today."

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