The push to remove statues around the country that laud the racist Confederacy has gone intersectional.
Women of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), a collective formed in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, protested in front of a statue of J. Marion Sims outside the New York Academy of Medicine on Saturday, bringing to light the shocking and disturbing practices of the famed doctor.
In a Facebook post — which has been shared over 185,000 times — a photo of the women with the caption explains their protest:
“J. Marion Sims was a gynecologist in the 1800s who purchased Black women slaves and used them as guinea pigs for his untested surgical experiments. He repeatedly performed genital surgery on Black women WITHOUT ANESTHESIA because according to him, ‘Black women don’t feel pain.’ Despite his inhumane tests on Black women, Sims was named ‘the father of modern gynecology’, and his statue currently stands right outside of the New York Academy of Medicine. #FightSupremacy”
Both the New York City Council and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are attempting to raise awareness of “symbols of hate” on city property.
City Council Member Bill Perkins is helping to lead an effort to remove the statue of Sims, according to DNA Info. Further, the Mayor’s administration announced plans to conduct a 90-day review of controversial pieces of art.
While calls to remove similarly controversial figures began months ago — such as efforts to remove markers commemorating a Nazi collaborator in Lower Manhattan — local governments are concerned about public safety in the wake of a violent rally spearheaded by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11 and 12.
These concerns have led to a flurry of activity to remove or relocate Confederate statues. A map developed by The New York Times shows that about 20 statues having been removed within the week of the Charlottesville rally, and more than a dozen are slated for removal throughout the country.
Beyond government concerns of public safety, activists are opposed to what the statues symbolize.
“Memorializing of imperialist slaveholders, murderers and torturers like J. Marion Sims is white supremacy,” said Rossanna Mercedes, 27, a BYP 100 member. “We will no longer allow government institutions like the New York City Parks Department to passively allow symbols of oppression.”