City of Alexandria to Host Meeting on Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project
For Immediate Release: August 13, 2019
The City of Alexandria invites the public to attend the first of several community meetings about the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Community Remembrance Project, on September 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe St.). The meeting will provide information about the project, including the retrieval of a pillar from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice that memorializes the two documented lynchings in Alexandria's history. Speakers for the September 21 meeting will include Kiara Boone, deputy director of Community Education for EJI.
EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice includes over 800 steel monuments, or pillars, one for each county or city in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place. The pillars are engraved with the names of the lynching victims. The Community Remembrance Project invites jurisdictions across the country to claim monuments and install them at the locations they represent. Alexandria is represented by a pillar memorializing Joseph McCoy, who was lynched in 1897; and Benjamin Thomas, who was lynched in 1899. To receive the pillar, the City must complete a Community Engagement Process through EJI. The City has started the process, and will provide the public with a progress report to discuss ways to implement the community engagement process at the meeting on September 21.
EJI is a private, nonprofit organization that challenges poverty and racial injustice; advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system; and creates hope for marginalized communities. In 2015, EJI published “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” which documented thousands of racial terror lynchings in 12 states. Additional research by EJI in 2017, found documented lynchings in eight states outside the Deep South as well. EJI is “working to memorialize this history by visiting hundreds of lynching sites, collecting soil, and erecting public markers in an effort to reshape the cultural landscape with monuments and memorials that more truthfully and accurately reflect our history.”
For more information, visit the City’s Community Remembrance Project page.
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This news release is available at: alexandriava.gov/110927.