Welch Announces New Task Force to Review Statues on State Grounds (Springfield, IL) – In an effort to ensure that statues and other ceremonial landmarks on state property reflect the values and morals of our state, Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced the creation of a new special task force to conduct a review of monuments on state property and proposals for new monuments or statues.
“There is a national movement in which local and state governments across the country are re-evaluating public art, the extent to which they accurately reflect history and how they impact people who have been marginalized from our history. The way we present our history matters, and when our public art doesn’t represent positive history that we can all celebrate, it sends a particularly harmful message to people of color that these beliefs are shared by their own government,” said Welch. “By reimagining our publicly displayed art, Illinois has the opportunity to be on the right side of history and show, through action that our state is inclusive to all.”
Welch announced the creation of the bipartisan Statue and Monument Review Task Force, which will be chaired by state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, and vice chaired by state Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago. Other Democratic appointees to the task force are state Reps. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights; Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora; Denyse Stoneback, D-Skokie; Maurice West, D-Rockford; and Eva Dina Delgado, D-Chicago. Its creation comes on the heels of a similar monument review in the City of Chicago, in which over 40 monuments were identified for further review and discussion due to promoting narratives of white supremacy or presenting one-sided views of history.
The Statue and Monument Review Task Force will host several public hearings to hear firsthand from historians, advocates, organizations and other members of the public. The task force will then produce recommendations for the removal of existing statues and may also recommend the erection of new statues to ensure Illinois’ public art is historically accurate and reflects the diversity of the state.
“This review is not about erasing history; in fact, the goal of this task force is to ensure that our artwork reflects an accurate retelling of our history and the contributions made by all people,” added Flowers. “Our work in this task force will be the start of a long overdue discussion about the values reflected in our public art and the message of diversity and inclusivity that we are sending to communities of color.”
Welch Announces New Task Force to Review Statues on State Grounds