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Lexington city council votes to change Stonewall Jackson Cemetery’s name

Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 6:29 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - As Lexington City Council met into the early morning hours of Friday, they heard many opinions, some live, many by email, and even petitions, but after four hours, they voted to change the name of the city-owned Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.

The meeting was done by Zoom because of social distancing, but that didn’t limit the amount of response.

“We got both sides,” said Vice Mayor Marilyn Alexander. “But the majority of people were for making a change. We not only received letters, but we had some people to actually speak.”

“It’s important for people to know what it really feels like to live here and how we can be more inclusive of all our young people so that they can thrive here,” Alexander explained.

But some feel they are being ignored in the debate.

“A lot of people are saying, especially in the county, that we haven’t looked at what the ramifications are going to be and what that could do to revenues here locally if we just start going on this willy nilly thing of taking down every statue and changing every single name,” said name change opponent Roger Jarrell.

When the vote in favor came, they felt they were unheard.

“I’ve been getting quite a few phone calls from concerned citizens who own plots in the cemetery,” Jarrell said. “They feel like their voices have not been heard. They feel left out of the process.”

“They have been heard and we’re still listening to them,” said Alexander. “It’s important because we can learn from them but they too need to listen to us and learn from us. It’s a two-way street.”

A new name is being researched by city council, which plans to survey locals on their opinion.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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