“Like so many Americans I was heartbroken to see this tragedy over the weekend because of the pain that bigots and racists can bring to a community,” Rawlings said.
The mayor also spoke about the planned “Dallas Against White Supremacy” rally in front of the Confederate War Memorial, cautioning participants to keep it peaceful.
“We will not have street brawls in our city,” said the mayor. “And our police department is prepared to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Then Rawlings also talked about the presence of Confederate memorials in the City of Dallas, the two most prominent being the statue of Robert E. Lee in front of Lee Park and the Confederate War Memorial in Pioneer Park. Memorials the mayor disagrees with saying he thinks “they are dangerous totems in our Dallas society because they divide us.”
He said the city is starting a task force to look into the future of these monuments and pass on their recommendations to the city council, who then might vote to remove the southern statues entirely.
“We must have this conversation,” said Rawlings. “The question is how to have this conversation productively and I’m planning to talk to my city council members on how to proceed.”
It’s a hot topic, one that already had arguments flying around in the City Hall flag room after the mayor’s speech.
So is it preserving history, or pushing hate? It’s a debate that goes back over 150 years, and one it looks like Dallas is about to wade deep in to.