Groups march for 'Coalition for Accountability,' removal of monuments

Updated: Oct. 10, 2017 at 11:43 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Groups pushed for changes Tuesday night on controversial issues, such as removing Confederate monuments. They joined together outside of the Lee Statue, marching all the way to Shockoe Bottom.

Before the protesters even gathered, both RPD and Capitol Police were on the scene to meet them, setting the tone for demonstrators to make their point peacefully.

Former Richmond School Board member Maimie Taylor wants city leaders to move forward with a proposal to remove Confederate monuments.

"Symbols that represent racism, hatred and divide and we need that to go away. We need this city to be united," said Taylor. "Don't just talk about it. Be about it."

And then there are concerns over Richmond's crumbling schools.

"They haven't said anything about a funded plan for all our schools. That's all we ask or tell us why you can't do it," said former Richmond councilman Marty Jewell.

Richmond's School Board has partnered with City Council in what the groups call the Richmond Education Compact - paving the way to unite both systems. Jewell wants to see it result in swift action.

"The first step is to fund school modernization. Yet, other protesters are concerned with how they feel students with special needs are being treated in school," said Jewell.

"They're being criminalized. We have students with behavior disabilities and schools are treating them as if it's a discipline issue," said Dr. Marla Crawford. "They're being suspended. We have students that are not being educated."

So they continue to march in hopes those with the power to make change will do just that.

"These kids are in poisonous buildings. Don't they care? They did when they were campaigning for office," said Jewell.

The Virginia Flaggers took to Facebook calling those protesters agitators of "anti-everything American." The Flaggers say these monuments are symbols of heritage and should stay up as a result.

A Richmond city committee is set to review the issue.

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