A symbolic deed of justice has finally occurred at the federal level. Last Thursday on the eve of Juneteenth,
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered the removal of four portraits of previous House Speakers that served in the Confederacy.
Earlier today, @SpeakerPelosi announced that in observance of #Juneteenth she has directed the Clerk of the House to remove the portraits of four previous Speakers of the House who served in the Confederacy.
Here's a clip of two of those portraits being taken down. pic.twitter.com/fV6cDwrtxb
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 18, 2020
The portraits depicted former Speakers Robert Hunter, Howell Cobb, James Orr, and Charles Crisp.
This act of removing Confederate and otherwise racist symbols is just one of many in 2020. Already people have called for the removal of statues of controversial figures around the US, and some protesters have even taken down statues themselves.
These efforts have occurred not just domestically, but all over the world, as many people are finally taking action against the issue of systemic racism and the symbols that glorify it.
There have been massive Black Lives Matter protests in England, along with the removal of statues of former racists.
In the United States, statues of Confederate generals are being torn down.
In Bristol, England, the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was taken down by protesters.
The moment that the statue of Edward Colston was pulled down pic.twitter.com/2QnYqYlGa3
— Today #VoteOut Mitch McConnell, KY (@IndictPOTUS45) June 8, 2020
Belgium has also taken part in removing statues of horrid historic figures, along with other countries…
A statue of late colonial King Leopold II was taken down in Belgium. pic.twitter.com/yj7OAgWa14
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 10, 2020
The fact that there was a decision made at the federal level in the US to remove these Confederate portraits holds special significance. Not only does it show the impact that people’s voices can have, but it also reveals just how widespread the effects of social campaigns such as the Black Lives Matter movement and racial advocacy efforts can be.
Teddy Roosevelt statue, considered racist symbol, to be removed from NYC park. https://t.co/Qom6vCqUtg
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 22, 2020
As some of the internet hype for these movements on social media seems to be dying down, it’s important to not take this as a sign to slow down or stop these efforts. If anything, it should be a motivator to keep moving forward.
Maintaining the current momentum of protests and calls for reform is one of the key ways to ensure these efforts stay within the public eye. Spreading the word is also vital in ensuring society doesn’t return back to an unjust status quo.
No matter how you decide to take action, whether it be educating yourself, taking part in activism, donating to charitable causes, or even spreading the word, know that even your one voice can be the catalyst to spark greater change.