Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Democratic U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay is urging St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay to remove the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park.

Clay, of St. Louis, sent a letter to Slay on Monday urging removal of the 32-foot-tall granite memorial. He said in the letter that symbols “associated with this country’s racist, oppressive past should not be elevated or displayed in public places.”

“Some may disagree and reflect on this memorial as a symbol of southern culture and Civil War reverence. But symbols matter and should reflect who we are as a people today,” Clay wrote. “Let us lead and influence how we are perceived by the world…as a force for good, and in solidarity with those advocating racial healing. It is not only time for a reappraisal of all public symbols that reflect upon the “peculiar institution” of slavery, but also time for removal.”

Related story: Confederate Memorial in Forest Park Vandalized

In April, Slay directed a department head to look into the future of the monument. Options include keeping it in Forest Park, moving it, or taking it down completely.

Confederate memorials have come under fire since the fatal shooting of nine people inside a Charleston, South Carolina, church. The suspect posed in photos with the Confederate flag.

A spokeswoman for Slay says the mayor appreciates Clay’s input.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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