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Confederate Monument Takedown Debate Heats Up at Winston-Salem City Council Meeting

Mayor Allen Joines is promising the downtown Confederate monument will be moved to Salem Cemetery by January 31, but some protesters of the statue say that isn't good enough.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Emotions ran high in Tuesday evening's City Council meeting in Winston-Salem. 

The conversation centered around one thing - the downtown Confederate monument's takedown. 

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Mayor Allen Joines said the clock is ticking for the statue, promising it'll be taken down and moved to the Salem Cemetery by January 31.

A handful of speakers weren't satisfied with moving it, instead, they want it completely destroyed. Some expressed their concerns in tears saying the statue is, and always has been, a symbol of hate. 

"I feel like the statue is just the complete opposite of what Winston-Salem stands for," one speaker said. Another speaker, Alexx Andersen said "When I look at it, I'm reminded that even though the Civil War was centuries ago, I still look at it and I'm reminded that I'm a black person and my life doesn't matter." 

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Mayor Allen Joines extended the public comment time so those who support Confederate monuments could also take to the podium. 

Two individuals both said the monuments not only represent history and heritage, but also their family. 

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"To me, it's not racist and I can understand some people thinking that, but it's for soldiers that gave their lives," Howard Snow said. 

Another Confederate monument supporter, Wendy Hayslett, said "I am the great, great granddaughter of a Confederate soldier. I want to remind y'all that my statues represent love, honor and respect."

Those who support Confederate monuments said moving it to the cemetery will only leave it vulnerable to vandalism like with Silent Sam in Chapel Hill. 

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Mayor Allen Joines says he doesn't think it will be a problem. 

"We have said to the owners of the cemetery, you know, we'll make sure it's a quiet, serene movement," said Joines. 

But there has been no talk of taking security measures at this point. 

The mayor says the city will pay for the movement and reestablishment of the Confederate monument in Salem Cemetery by the end of this month. He did not have an immediate estimate on how much that will cost. 

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