The Virginia city of Charlottesville finally took down its statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson on Saturday, CNN reports.
The removal is the culmination of about five years of continued action. In 2017, white supremacists and neo-Nazis convened in the city to protest the municipal government’s decision to remove the two monuments—one of whom, James Fields, murdered antiracist counter-protester Heather Heyer with his car.
“This should have happened a long time ago,” said Zyahna Bryant, who started a petition to remove the statues of Lee and Jackson in 2016 when she was in high school, at a press conference Saturday, per CNN. “To the young people out there, I hope that this empowers you to pick up on the issues that matter, and to take charge in your own cities and communities.”
During an emergency midday meeting Saturday afternoon, the Charlottesville city council unanimously voted to remove a third statue depicting Meriweather Lewis and William Clark—key figures in the United States’ government’s 19th Century colonization of Indigenous American land—along with Shoshone interpreter Sacagawea.