All four African-American Dallas City Council members held a joint press conference Friday to demand that Confederate monuments in city-owned parks be taken down.
Some comments from the councilmen were less decisive about the issue earlier in the week, but they all agreed Friday that the end result of a task force study on the issue must be removing the monuments.
"We stand in solidarity to say that those statues must be and will be removed. However, there is a process that we have to go through," said Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.
A Friday memo to council members from Mayor Mike Rawlings detailed a plan for that process.
Rawlings wants all 14 council members to name an appointee to the task force by 5 p.m. Monday. The mayor will then add additional appointees and schedule task force meetings. The sessions will be held under the city's open meeting rules. The Dallas Parks Board and Cultural Affairs Commission will review task force findings. The mayor set a Nov. 8 deadline for final Dallas City Council action on the findings.
"I'm going to continue to push the mayor to shorten that time frame," Councilman Kevin Felder said. "We need to get on with this process."
Councilmen Tennell Atkins and Casey Thomas joined Caraway in saying they are less concerned about speed in the process.
"I'm not worried about a deadline," Atkins said. "We are trying to make sure what we do is right for the citizens and looking out for everyone."
All four council members speaking Friday said they want the result to be about more than just statues.
"This should be a first step toward moving Dallas to being a whole city and a more equitable city for those who are here now and those who will be here in the future," Thomas said.
All four also agree a possible result could be moving the statues to some display that would include a more thorough presentation about the Civil War.
"Taxpayer dollars should not support vestiges of racism, white supremacy and oppression," Felder said. "Maybe it's appropriate to have them in museums or put them in some sort of historical context."
Those are among the issues to be considered before the planned November City Council vote.
On Thursday, Caraway issued the following statement on the statues:
"As the nation grapples with what to do with the vestiges of the Confederacy, so does Dallas. It is a necessary conversation that has been brewing for many years.
With that said, I support the effort to research the proper policy on removing statues, and to survey the thoughts of City Officials on what the process, if any, should look like. This is not the decision of one person.
In the meantime, my focus will be on the residents of Dallas and their immediate needs. I choose to focus on making our neighborhoods safer by combatting the scourge of drugs in our communities.
I choose to focus on combatting homelessness and making sure the most vulnerable of us all have a safe place to lay their head at night.
And, I choose to work on bringing economic development to Southern Dallas, and finding equitable ways to provide a better quality of life for many who need only the opportunity."
Memo from Mayor Mike Rawlings: