By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor
The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, has unveiled plans to set up a new commission in order to research the city’s history, which will seek to include academics from the University of Bristol.
In a press conference this morning, Mayor Rees outlined his plans to set up the commission by drawing on the ‘intellectual firepower of [Bristol’s] two universities’.
The commission will help shape the future of Bristol following the removal of Edward Colston’s statue on Sunday and decide whether controversial figures, including those associated with the slave trade, should be removed from the names of cities and streets in the city of Bristol.
The Mayor outlined his vision for Bristol to move forward from Sunday’s events, stating his belief in ‘the ability to live with difference’.
Precisely who the members of the commission are will be decided at a later date, after consultation.
The Mayor highlighted the importance of following a ‘just, inclusive process’ which was ‘not politically or emotionally driven, just about good academics’, in order to make progress.
Bristol City Council have also announced the removed statue of Edward Colston will be taken from the harbour and placed in one of the city’s museums alongside placards that were used at Sunday’s Black Lives Matter protest.
At the press conference, Mayor Rees emphasised that whilst differing points of view on the removal of the Colston statue have been voiced, it was importance to unite Bristolians and find ‘some common ground’.
Petitions launched to replace Colston statue with alternatives celebrating Bristol's Black community
Mayor Rees also reaffirmed his support for Black Lives Matter, but stated that [he could] ‘not condone criminal damage’ and had ‘raised concerns about social distancing and mass gathering’.
On the question of what will replace the statue on its plinth, the Council have said this decision will be ‘decided democratically through consultation.’
Since the statue’s removal, online petitions have surfaced calling for a statue of a prominent member of Bristol’s Black community to take its place, including civil rights campaigner Paul Stephenson.
Featured image: Bristol City Council
What do you think the removed Edward Colston statue should be replaced with?