Coflin started this petition five days ago and it has already gotten almost 23,000 signatures, less than 2,000 short of his 25,000 goal. Baltimore hauled away its four Confederate statues overnight last week, the Maryland state house removed a statue of segregationist Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney; Duke University took down its own statue of Lee. "I say yes and ask you to join me in letting us work it".
If the petition reaches its intended target, it will be presented to Mayor John L. Rowe, Vice Mayor Paige Cherry, and the city council.
The debate over whether or not to remove Confederate statues and monuments is not new but the events in Charlottesville have shown the extent to which the issue is divisive.
An artist and music producer, Melissa Arnette Elliott was born in Portsmouth in 1971.
"Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it", he wrote, referencing the "flip it and reverse it" lyrics in Elliott's 2002 hit song "Work It". And he thinks a statue of the award-winning rapper and producer, who was born in the Virginia town, is the flawless replacement.
TV station WKTR in Virginia reports that when the petition was started on Aug 16., it had a goal of just 100 supporters.
The Change.com petition also explains the upbringing of the hip-hop superstar while growing up in the city, arguing that she never even owned a slave, unlike the monument that is now up in the same location. "I'm honestly a little embarrassed to say that part of the reason Heather got so much attention is because she's white, and she stood up for black people".
Responding to a Tweet about the petition, Elliott said the petition "warms my heart and it's so humbling to me". "Missy is everything the Confederacy was not", it adds.