After continued debate over whether to remove monuments and art throughout Chicago, particularly those depicting former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday that one thing will not change.
During a press conference, Lightfoot was asked about her thoughts on the notion that Chicago statutes of Lincoln and Washington might be "problematic."
"Well, I'm not going to get ahead of myself," Lightfoot said. "I think what the monuments and murals committee did was identify those statues and murals and other historical markers that are worthy of conversation. And I think they are worthy of conversation. But let's be clear, we're in the Land of Lincoln, and that's not going to change."
Over the past week, a new interactive portal for Chicago residents sparked online debate over whether to keep various citywide monuments standing.
Residents have until April to voice their opinions on Chicago's monumental sculptures, artworks and commemorative plaques on the public way, as well as city parks, selected by an advisory committee for further review.
"This project is a powerful opportunity for us to come together as a city to assess the many monuments and memorials across our neighborhoods and communities—to face our history and what and how we memorialize that history," Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot added that given the events over the past year, particularly last summer, it is essential that Chicago residents join the conversation around making changes.
Joining in on the discussion through Twitter using the #chicagomonuments tag, Chicagoans have already begun to debate whether some monuments should be removed or left standing.
Using feedback from the website, meeting discussions and social media responses, city officials said a new framework will be developed that "elevates new ways to memorialize Chicago's true and complete history."