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President Samuel Hoi Offers a Follow-up Plan for Vacant Confederate Monument Sites

Posted 10.04.17

Samuel HoiThis piece originally aired as part of WYPR's Public Commentary series. Listen to the audio version on WYPR's website.

In mid-August, Mayor Catherine Pugh removed four Confederate statues in Baltimore in a decisive way that cast a positive light on our city nationally. Our city now has the opportunity to build upon this leadership momentum and be at the national forefront again with a thoughtful follow-up plan.

How about a two-phase plan? During the first phase that may last a year or longer, artists can partner with communities to deploy the history of these vacant sites to engage our diverse residents for ideas, education and dialogue.

Concurrently, the city can undertake the proper time and process to determine the permanent use of these sites, absorbing the lessons learned from the first phase and honoring the authentic desires and needs of our city residents.

Whatever ultimate solutions take place there, the sites must be used to confront their own past unflinchingly and honestly. These vacant sites are now potent symbols in their own right, illustrating our power as a people taking action on behalf of a different kind of future for the City of Baltimore. As such, these sites are ideal places for contemplation, for remembrance, for celebration, and most importantly, for community dialogue that will propel us forward together.

This is Samuel Hoi, president of Maryland Institute College of Art. One of the sites is on Mt. Royal Avenue in the middle of MICA's campus neighborhood, so how the site will be used is naturally on our mind.

This page was last updated on 10/04/2017.