In the early morning hours today, motorists and pedestrians noticed graffiti reading, "Black Lives Matter," on a large statue honoring the Southern Confederacy on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. The graffiti artist, who is unknown at this time, tagged the monument to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, with the hashtag that has become a unifying symbol of the civil rights movement today.
City officials arrived in the morning to power wash the stone but legible paint residue could still be seen as of 5 p.m. during rush hour traffic. At that time, at least three white females stood in front of the statue holding cardboard signs reading, "Confederacy = Racism" and "Black Lives Matter."
Sarah, who declined to offer her last name, said this was one thing she could do to show her support for African Americans.
The graffiti appeared eight days after the murders of nine African Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina, church last week as well as countless well documented race-based deaths of African Americans across the country in the last year. A photo of the Charleston murder suspect posing with the Confederate flag and a gun has renewed debate over the appropriateness of displaying the flag, which many feel symbolizes the nation's history of slavery, discrimination and racism. Richmond was once the capital of the Confederate states.
Thanks to citizen journalists documenting atrocities as they happen, people across the United States have been enveloped in much soul-searching while confronting racism in the 21st century. This conversation is not new. This conversation is not over. But at least we're having this conversation now and everyday.