Today, nearly 20 bipartisan organizations, scholars and former members of Congress called upon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Roy Blunt (Mo.) to use the power of the Joint Committee on the Library to “remove all Confederate statues displayed in the U.S. Capitol from public view.”

The letter states:

“Nations erect monuments of great individuals in order to hold up their lives as exemplars of virtue and accomplishment. No individual is beyond reproach in every respect, but these men held significant positions in the Confederacy, literally went to war against the United States, and were memorialized during the Jim Crow era to affirm and perpetuate white supremacy.

The Joint Committee on the Library has the power to remove these statues from public view. The Speaker of the House has declared her desire to do so and there is no doubt that the House would vote to do the same; the decision is in your hands.

Both of you have expressed the view that the statutes are part of history. In our view, some may have value as art and there may be places that they might be displayed with the appropriate context. But it is wrong to honor these men through display in the center of our Democracy.

For now, until states act to find more fitting representations of themselves, you should remove them from public view.

The United States Capitol must be a welcome place for all Americans; these statues send the wrong message and embody the wrong values. We urge you to act today.”

Read the full letter.