Van Turner, president of Green Space Inc., finds a perfect solution to clearing remanence of racist America in Memphis. Van Turner was born to a father who lived in the times of segregation. His father tells of the times he feared sitting in and walking through certain Memphis parks just because of his race. Although living in a period when African Americans were seeking basic levels of equality, Turner’s father managed to exhibit bravery and excel. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school and enrolled in the third integrated class of the University of Memphis. A day after his father’s 73rd birthday, Van Turner stands in the same park his father feared entering and honors his name. He announces the removal of Confederate statues within this Memphis park. Some of these offensive statues are of KKK leaders. Van Turner worked with city council members to find a legal basis for the dismantling of the racist statues.
“I am humbled by the progress we have made. That I can use my experience as a lawyer, the love for my city and my commitment to my constituents to help liberate this park from the barriers that prevented it from truly being for the public, Turner said. He adds that, while this moment is monumental and important, there is still more work to be done. “This is only the beginning,” Turner explains. “There are other parks that need to be liberated from mediocrity and returned to the people as a unifying asset.”
The statues are only a small part of the large issue revolving racism in America. Turner explains that this may not be the largest obstacle, but at least, it’s an obstacle that is out of the way. “When we wake up tomorrow morning, we still will have issues with education; we still will have issues with poverty, we still will have issues with public safety,” Turner said. “This doesn’t resolve any of that. What this does is move this out the way. This is a non-issue now.”