Dallas And Houston Mayors Support Growing Movement To Remove Confederate Symbols

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By Becky FogelAugust 18, 2017 12:37 pm

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says he supports mayors and cities taking stock of their Confederate symbols and considering whether to dismantle them.

He said as much to CNN Friday morning:

“Now, it’s not just a question of statues; these have become totems for the ‘alt-right,’ the white supremacists, and now we’ve got it into a new conversation, that’s why I’ve supported for the removal of these.”

Rawlings also told CNN that Dallas began considering the removal of Confederate symbols a couple of months ago, but said the process has accelerated in the aftermath of the deadly white-supremacy rally in Charlottesville.

“But how we do it is critical. Our citizens have a lot of points of view, and I want to make sure we gain it. I want to be stronger coming out of this, not just solving one issue, because this race issue is about listening to one another, it’s about understanding one another. This is a gift that we are given to make sure we do this in the right way,” Rawlings told CNN.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has also emphasized that he wants the potential removal of Confederate statues in his city to be a thoughtful process.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Turner told reporters: “I think it’s also very important that we are not allowed the national discourse and what’s being said and how things are being handled on the national level to flow down into the city of Houston and pull us apart.”

This week, Turner called on city staff and university professors to inventory Confederate statues in Houston and offer recommendations about whether to remove them.

Similar efforts are also underway in Austin and San Antonio. Some state lawmakers have launched efforts to consider removal of Confederate symbols at the Texas Capitol. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus said Thursday he plans to work with Dallas Democratic Rep. Eric Johnson to review the historical accuracy of Confederate monuments.

A federal appeals court says a Texas law that restricts assistance for people with limited English skills at polling places conflicts with federal voting rights law.

From KUT News in Austin, Matt Largey reports:

The law in question requires a person serving as an interpreter for another voter to be registered to vote in the same county. The case revolves around a voter in Williamson County with limited English, whose son was denied the ability to help her vote because he was registered in Travis County. The Voting Rights Act guarantees voters with visual impairments, disabilities or limited language skills the ability to get assistance from the person of their choice, as long as it’s not their employer or union boss. The appeals court upheld a lower court finding that the Texas law violates the Voting Rights Act. The state law has been suspended since the lower court’s ruling last summer.