Yesterday CHP filed a proposed amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Virginia on behalf of Circle Neighbors in the Robert E. Lee monument appeal. Circle Neighbors includes more than 50 homeowners (95% of the homes) with direct lines of sight to the Lee Monument and who seek the monument’s immediate removal.
Greg Werkheiser, founding partner at CHP and attorney for Circle Neighbors, stated, “The Lee Monument is now a global symbol of our nation’s racial strife, and my clients, like so many in Richmond, are eager to build an inspiring and welcoming Monument Avenue. We look forward to the Court’s decision.”
Circle Neighbors supports Governor Ralph Northam’s order to remove the monument, including because the Lee Monument:
- celebrates values that contradict the values of the neighborhood and community;
- conveys a false and harmful historical narrative;
- can only be appropriately contextualized in a different setting; and
- threatens public safety and the enjoyment and value of neighboring properties.
Circle Neighbors offers these perspectives and information to the Court:
- the emotional attachment of the five appellants to the monument does not provide legal standing; nor do their claims of lost property value since sales in the neighborhood are up 6.7% after the other Confederate monuments were removed last summer;
- Circle Neighbors members have more at risk if the monument remains in place than do the appellants if it is removed; and
- removing the Lee Monument is fully consistent with historic preservation policy, which allows communities to make appropriate changes and remove nuisances.
Circle Neighbors cofounder, Alice Massie, who has lived next to the Lee monument for 23 years, stated: “We support the Governor’s initiative to immediately remove the Lee statue and base that can be appropriately contextualized elsewhere. We are a residential neighborhood who appreciate history and culture. It is time to move forward with an inclusive solution.”
Attorneys Greg Werkheiser, Will Cook, and Jessica Krauss were on the brief.