On Thursday, social justice activists replaced a torn-down monument featuring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson riding side by side, with a statue of a pregnant woman with her fist raised in the air titled, "Madre Luz," or "Mother Light." Activists and media referred to the statue as "Lady Liberty."
Following the horrible events in Charlottesville on Saturday, the statues of Lee and Jackson were removed by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh for the sake of public safety. Baltimore had been considering removing the statues before white supremacists and members of Antifa clashed in North Carolina, but the weekend's events expedited the decision.
As of this hour, the protest statue has not been removed while the original statues remain in storage. Mayor Pugh suggested Lee and Jackson may be permanently relocated to a nearby Confederate Cemetery.
"Madre Luz" — Spanish for "Mother Light" — was erected by artist Pablo Machioli from papier-mache and features a pregnant African-American woman with a baby on her back, and with one fist raised into the air, a signal typically associated with the "black power" movement of the 1970s.
City Paper reports that Machioli made the statue in 2015 to “create attention” about social justice and commemorate the 2016 Baltimore Riots, though his original idea was to create a statue depicting abolitionist Harriet Tubman throwing a brick at Lee and Jackson. Machioli chose "Madre Luz" to supposedly send a more positive message.
When Lee and Jackson came down on Wednesday, Machioli and others seized the moment. Though the city has previously impounded and fined Machioli for placing "Madre Luz" where it does not belong (including around and on top of the Lee and Jackson monument), they have, oddly, decided to let it stay there since Sunday. It has been vandalized several times, but Machioli always returns to repair it.