Division News & Statements
Statement from President Mantella: Allendale Township Board Vote Against Recommendation of the Citizen Committee to Remove and Replace Statue
June 15, 2021
Email from President Mantella to Mr. Adam Elenbaas, Supervisor, of the Allendale Charter Township Board on June 15, 2021:
Dear Supervisor Elenbaas:
It is with profound disappointment that I write you today upon hearing the news that the Township Board voted not to accept the recommendation of the Garden of Honor Committee to relocate the Civil War statue. It remains my view that the statue must be seen in the light of a new day. Whatever the intent of the sculptor, the artwork brings controversy rather than honor and sullies the Township’s good name. The Committee’s recommendation would have moved but preserved the artwork and given it context, a thoughtful opportunity that now seems lost.
In any event, the statue seems misplaced in its totality – in Allendale and in Michigan. Allendale had no known Confederate activity during the Civil War, while our state capitol rotunda in Lansing -- constructed after the Civil War -- is an homage to the Union’s victory and Michigan’s role in it.
I commend you and Trustee Barbara VanderVeen for your votes in favor of the Committee’s recommendation and you in particular for establishing the Committee. If your colleagues on the Board think they have put this matter to rest by their decision, I believe they are mistaken. Their decision portends a renewal of objection, not its disposition.
Philomena V. Mantella President