To the Editor:

Some people wonder why there is such a fuss about monuments to Confederate leaders. Most people walk past these without even knowing what they are.

While the Civil War ended long ago, racism did not. When activist groups or ordinary people organize against these monuments they start a dialog in their community. People who would rarely see each other begin talking, debating and learning from each other. Many people will gain a greater understanding of our shared history. When a community decides to take down one of these monuments the real benefit is the process itself. Hearts have been softened, minds opened, new friendships forged, and some people will have confronted their own prejudices and let go of them.

This is also why the act of vandalizing these monuments is wrong. It is counterproductive because the most import part of the process has been skipped over. We must keep our eye on the prize — changing hearts and minds. This is the wisdom of nonviolence.

Mike Sullivan

Carbondale

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