More than 5,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on the state of Tennessee to replace all statues honoring the Confederacy with statues honoring country music legend and native Tennessean Dolly Parton.
Parton, a nine-time Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, is also known worldwide for her philanthropy efforts. Following wildfires in the Smokey Mountains, Parton donated millions of dollars to help the community's recovery. She's also touched millions of lives through her charitable foundation.
The petition, started by Alex Parsons on June 11, has quickly spread online. It's moving in on its initial goal of 7,500 signatures.
"Let's replace the statues of men who sought to tear this country apart with a monument to the woman who has worked her entire life to bring us closer together," the petition says.
In an update, organizers clarified their stance, saying that "while the idea of replacing all of those monuments with Dolly Parton may seem funny, the history of those monuments is anything but."
The petition comes as communities across the country hold conversations about systemic racism in the United States amid several high-profile deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in 2020. Last week, the state of Kentucky removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its capitol rotunda, and the city of Richmond, Virginia has announced it plans to take down several Confederate monuments that dot the city.
However, Tennessee has been more reluctant to remove Confederate statues. Last week, a state Senate committee voted to kill a resolution that would have forced the removal of a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the capitol building. Forrest, a Confederate general, served as the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan in the 1800s.