Dennis Cassella: The past can’t just be the past |

Dennis Cassella: The past can’t just be the past

In his Other Voices column (July 11, The Union) regarding taking down monuments, Rick DeKnoop asked: “Why not let the past just be the past?” Let me share the following perspective.

Suppose that one of your female ancestors was kidnapped and taken into slavery, raped or forcibly bred to produce more slaves. The children were then separated and sold off for money, and your family connections were lost forever.

Everyday you are now expected to walk or drive past a statue honoring one of the people who was part of your family’s historical nightmare. Every time you see the statue you are reminded of it.

By the way, none of the offending white family was ever prosecuted for any of their crimes, instead they were celebrated.

Does this answer why the past can’t be just the past? Because it obviously isn’t. You carry the wound, the crimes done against you in your heart as well as the loss of family connections and history.

If white southern people needed monuments to their past, then they need look no further than the living monuments of African American people, who are a record of their deeds and misdeeds. Surely that ought to be enough?

Dennis Cassella

Grass Valley

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