Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who remains memorialized by a statue in Charlottesville, is a symbol of the violent racism that continues to plague America. His statue promotes bigotry and hatred, as made evident by the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville (which was held to protest the statue's removal).
So when the descendant of Robert E. Lee, a Reverend, took the stage to condemn his family's legacy he did exactly what Donald Trump refused to do after the hate rally and terrorist attack that occurred in Charlottesville. The reverend called racism precisely what it is — America's original sin.
When the VMA announcer introduced Reverand Robert Wright Lee IV, no one really knew who he was or what to expect.
With a serious gaze he stated, "My name is Robert Lee IV, I’m a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville." The crowd went silent. What he said next was pointed, powerful, and immeasurably important.
'We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America's original sin," he declared. "Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God's call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women's March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville."He then introduced the mother of Heather Heyer, the activist who was run down and killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville. Heyer's mother asked that her daughter's death not go in vain and announced that she was launching the Heather Heyer Foundation to fund scholarships for student activists. When she was finished speaking, the Reverend linked arms with Heyer's mother as he escorted her off stage.
Confederate flags and statues aren't a symbol of southern heritage. They are symbols of racism, white supremacy, bigotry and violence .
Listen to Robert E. Lee's own descendent.