Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 35 Senate Democrats introduced standalone legislation requiring the Pentagon to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America, and anyone who voluntarily served it, from all military bases and other assets of the Department of Defense. The Pentagon must rename the assets within one year.
“Our country has the opportunity to decide who we are as a nation, and we can’t afford to get this wrong,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We know that removing these names and symbols won’t erase the ugly stain of slavery from our nation’s history, but it will help us build a future where members of the military– no matter their skin color – can proudly serve our country without the glorification of the legacy of white supremacy.”
The Removing Confederate Names and Symbols from Our Military Act will require the Secretary of Defense to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America, or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America, from all assets of the Department of Defense. “Assets” will be defined as and include any base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment, or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense. Grave markers will be exempted. It also prohibits the future display of any name, symbol, display, monument or paraphernalia that honors or commemorates the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily.
The bill, introduced by Senator Warren (D-MA), is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO.), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Robert Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM0, Tom Udall (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).