Confederate symbols have been in the news a lot in the last few years. With outcry over the the state flag of Mississippi (which features the former flag of the Confederacy in the top left corner) and the recent removal of statues of prominent Confederate figures in cities like Charlottesville, New York, and Lexington, KY, this is still a heated issue in American society right now. Removal of these statues as received both praise and backlash, most notably the recent protest, by white nationalists, of the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va., which resulted in the injury of 35 civilians, and the death of 3.

But is the removal of these Confederate symbols necessary?

The Civil War is one of the most important moments in our country's history. About 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War, half of the total American deaths in ALL of the wars the country has been involved in since the Revolutionary War. These statues and symbols of the Confederacy, though being exploited by hate groups and supremacists, are, in my opinion, meant to stand as a reminder of what happened, not to be symbols of hate and discrimination, though recently it may seem that we've only been undoing all the progress that we've made.

By removing these symbols, it's almost as though, we as a nation are choosing to ignore what happened back then. We do not need to ignore the past, we need to learn from it to better prepare ourselves for the future. Do I believe that these hate groups are right in their protests? Not a single bit. But I do believe that these states governments that are electing to remove these memorials is a mistake. Not only do they serve as a reminder of one the darkest periods in our nation's history, but they also serve as a reminder of how far we've come as a nation since then.

So lets not choose to ignore our past. Lets choose to learn from it. Lets not choose hate. Choose to stand up against those who want to tear us apart. Stand up to those who believe that they are better just because they happen to have less melanin in their body. Choose to stand up and fight for those people who may not be able to stand up for themselves for fear of being beaten or killed. Lets stop worrying about these symbols, and start standing up against hate, discrimination, and supremacy, because no one deserves to be judged based on their sex, race, sexual orientation, or anything other than their actions.