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Commission to ponder Confederate statues on historic Monument Avenue

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Monument Avenue Commission will be seeking input from the public following its first full meeting on Monday.

As that team examines what -- if anything -- should be done to tell the complete story of Confederate memorials, different voices from across the city are weighing in.

Jerry Alferio said he enjoys walking on Richmond’s “beautiful” Monument Avenue and looking at the statutes that line it.

“I don't look at them as a political statement,” he said. “I look at them more as a work of art.  I think they are beautiful."

But the monuments speak to different people in different ways, which is part of the challenge for the Monument Avenue Commission.

Monument Avenue.

Monument Avenue.

The first full meeting, which is open to the public, takes place Monday morning.

The first public input session will be held Wednesday night.

Kameron Jones and Caitlyn Walker visited Richmond's newest memorial, the Maggie Walker statue near historic Jackson Ward, on Sunday.

"The placement is a little weird, but either way, I think it’s a great statue,” Jones said.

The new tribute is an example of what Jones would like to see highlighted on Monument.

"People like Maggie Walker, who did great things for great people, rather than war heroes,” Jones said. “[These are] parts of our past that we may not need to focus on in Richmond.”

Maggie Walker statue

Maggie Walker statue

Andrew Penglase is moving out of his place in the shadow of the Arthur Ashe statute, the only one on Monument Avenue that is not a confederate symbol.

Penglase thinks a city should never try to gloss over history, but supports at least talking about how best to tell Richmond’s story.

"If changes can be made to make people who feel negatively about it feel better, I think we should absolutely do that,” Penglase said.

 Arthur Ashe statute

Arthur Ashe statute

The commission first meeting is Monday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Library of Virginia.

While that meeting is open to the public, the first public input session is Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Virginia Historical Society at 428 N. Boulevard in Richmond's Museum District.