A Monument Charlottesville Could Be Proud Of

Letter to Daily Progress Editor for Publication
From David Swanson

A Monument Charlottesville Could Be Proud Of

I happened to read an article with photos describing a pair of new monuments in central public spaces, one in a city in Poland and one in a city in Lithuania. Each is a vertical circle about 10 feet high with a possibly marble ring enclosing a round video screen showing in real-time exactly what people are doing in front of the other identical circle in the other city — typically waving back at you.

It occured to me that I live in a city in desperate need of monuments that pose a reduced risk of becoming shameful with the passage of years. Here, I thought, is a type of monument that doesn’t glorify some past individual (hate to break the news, but they are ALL flawed) or even glorify some other city (they’ve all done bad stuff). Rather, it serves to communicate and bring closer and make real, people in another place, living active growing changing people — not stone heroes on horseback.

Charlottesville has five sister cities, and could add more. Imagine a public space in Charlottesville with five of these “portals” and room for more. Each could carry the name of a sister city, plus the live video from a public space in that city — plus perhaps a display of what time it is there. I think the funding for such a project could be publicly raised — including to make a gift of a paired monument to each sister city, and certainly would never approach the cost of, say, a bridge on the 250 bypass.

I’ve sent the idea to Charlottesville Sister Cities, to the people who made the portals in Poland and Lithuania, and to Charlottesville’s City Council. What do you think?

Best,
David Swanson

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