Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is taking action to help remove Confederate statues from the Capitol.
On Thursday, Booker tweeted his plans to introduce a bill to take down statues honoring the Confederacy from the halls of the United States Capitol.
The building is home to the National Statuary Hall Collection, which includes two statues from each state. Statues that recognize civil rights heroes like Rosa Parks are located just steps away from those that pay tribute to men like Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Alexander Hamilton Stephens, who served as vice president of the Confederacy and was a fierce supporter of slavery.
“Individuals who were treasonous to the United States, who took up arms against their own country, and inflicted catastrophic death and suffering among U.S. citizens, should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space,” Booker told HuffPost in a statement.
“The Capitol is a place for all Americans to come and feel welcomed, encouraged, and inspired,” he added. “Confederate statues do the opposite. They are, unequivocally, not only statues of treasonous Americans, but are symbolic to some who seek to revise history and advance hate and division.”
Booker also acknowledged the millions of Americans who see those statues as symbols of the bigotry and hate the country has yet to reckon with. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also denounced Thursday the “reprehensible” Confederate statues in place at the Capitol, calling for their removal.
“There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” she said.
Booker echoed this sentiment, telling HuffPost: “These statues belong in a museum, where they are put in the proper historical context.”
“Our nation must heal and unite,” he said. “Part of this process must be unflinchingly and courageously confronting the truth of our past and realizing that what makes us great is not sanitizing our history with its bigotry, hatred, and racism, or watering down the vicious brutality and terrorism that ran rampant, but demonstrating America’s greatness in how we have overcome those evils with the best of who we are and our continued focus on the injustices that still demand our work today.”
“These statues must be moved not just because of who they were in the past,” he added, “but because of who we are now as a nation and who we must be to ensure an even better and brighter future.”