Letter: Community must stand together for progress, allow some things to vanish

Published 1:05 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The recent death of George Floyd, among numerous others, has pushed the topic of racial inequity and injustice back to the forefront of our minds. While we all want to believe that we have made progress, it is clear that mere progress isn’t the goal.

As a white male, I have found myself asking what I can do to clearly communicate how I feel. I have had conversations, I have attended protests and I have tried to relay to my young children what has happened and how we should respond. While all of these things are important, I still find myself frustrated because I feel like there is more to be done.

With that said, what exactly can be done by one person is a daunting thought. However, I do believe that in order to truly see change we will be required to come together as a group with a vision. That vision must be clear. We must not only hope for, but demand that the prejudiced remnants of our past be wiped out. We must all stand together and agree that in order to see progress, we must allow some things to vanish. As a resident of Rowan County, as a follower of Christ and as an elected official in Rowan County, I am joining the multitudes of others in requesting that the “Fame” statue be moved from its current location.

This statue has stood in Salisbury for more years than I have. In fact, there isn’t a time in my life that I haven’t passed by this statue on a regular basis. With that said, it has become impossible in my mind to separate the statue from the tarnished southern history that it represents. While I drive by and merely see a statue that carries little significance to me personally, many African Americans drive by and see a lingering reminder of not only slavery, but the fact that so many gave their lives to preserve slavery. I believe that we can not only move the statue, but also repurpose it to memorialize veterans who have fought for freedom for all, rather than freedom for some. It is time that we take this step as a community to begin the rebuilding that is so desperately needed.

— Josh Wagner


Editor’s note: Wagner is a member of the Rowan-Salisbury School Board and previously served as its chairman.