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Abundant Life Teen Leads Effort to Remove Lee Statue

Categories: Buford,CLUBS for youth,In the News,TUTORING at area schools,Walker

The movement to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from downtownZyahna with her tutor Shannon last year at Buford. Charlottesville and rename Lee Park, as well as the counter-movement to preserve them, have dominated local headlines over the past week. Abundant Life participant Zyahna Bryant, at only 15 years old, may seem like an unlikely leader of the recent push to remove the Confederate monument, but it comes as no surprise to us – she read Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America while in middle school! Zyahna started the petition on Change.org to rename the park and remove the statue on March 20th, and as of this writing it has already garnered 645 signatures. On the petition page, Zyahna explains why she began the petition (excerpted): “As a teenager in Charlottesville that identifies as black, I am offended every time I pass it. I am reminded over and over again of the pain of my ancestors and all of the fighting that they had to go through for us to be where we are now. Quite frankly I am disgusted with the selective display of history in this city. There is more to Charlottesville than just the memories of Confederate fighters. There is more to this city that makes it great.”

We recommend this Newplex article about Zyahna’s efforts. Without taking sides on this sensitive issue, we are proud of her passion, activism, and leadership. Arley Arrington, who has known Zyahna for years through our Walker and Buford Tutoring programs and having taken her to CitiKidz camp, has high praise for her: “Zyahna joined our programs in the 5th grade, and even then I was impressed by her passion and focus towards creating The Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park. Photo by Dylan Rosenthal.change in the world around her. Even aside from her young age, she has always shown commitment to good that shines among many–her peers and even adults. She is an inspirational young woman. She’s going to be president someday, if we’re lucky.”

One Response to "Abundant Life Teen Leads Effort to Remove Lee Statue"

  1. Myla Erwin
    Myla Erwin Posted on March 26, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I always found it insulting that Virginia lumped the celebration of Lee, Jackson, and Rev. King together. Who else does that? When I lived in Charlottesville I was always curious about that and the statue. I applaud this young advocate and look forward to hearing about the outcome.