A half dozen activists draped a black cloth over the statue of a Confederate soldier that stands tall on the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds.
The group gathered at the foot of the Civil War monument Sunday morning and displayed a sign that read, “Confederate Statue = Hate.”
The protestors are part of local environmental group 350 Loudoun. They planned the demonstration on the one year anniversary of the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville that left one person dead and several injured.
“The statue must be removed because it represents a shameful era in our history. Failing to remove it perpetuates the past,” said Natalie Pien, one of the protesters and a member of 350 Loudoun.
Lee Stewart, also a member of environmental group, said white supremacy is one of the root causes of climate change. “There’s a reason climate change disproportionately hurts people of color around the world, and that dirty fossil fuel projects are routinely placed in communities that are majority people of color communities,” he said. “These things are a result of a system that privileges white people at the expense of everyone else. The Confederate statue is a symbol of such a system. As a Leesburg-based organization concerned with justice, we feel responsible to call for the statue’s removal.”
Officers from Leesburg Police Department and deputies from Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office stopped by the protest after they’d received reports that the statue was being vandalized. The cloth had been removed from the statue by the time law enforcement arrived.
“I don’t see any vandalism going on. It looks like a peaceful protest,” a Leesburg Police officer said to the protesters when he arrived.
“Yes, thank you,” Pien said.