5,156 signatures collected to save Junipero Serra statue

By Michael Hernandez 

VENTURA—A progressive petition platform has collected (as of 2 p.m. Tuesday) 5,156 signatures to keep the Junipero Serra statue displayed in front of City Hall.

Sign the petition HERE

Tonight at 6:00 the “virtual” city council meeting will be taking place. Attend via: https://bit.ly/2NvYlRX   or by phone at 1 (408) 418-9388 and use access code: 126 228 9208.

Change.org has given a voice to a “silent majority” of Catholics and others representing the faith community as well as Hispanics that are actively sharing public comments and taking actions (June 20 and July 4) to defend the Junipero Serra statue from being torn down by Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists.

The Junipero Serra statue battle was first reported by local media. The story generated national media when The Los Angeles Times provided coverage. LifeSiteNews (a nationwide Catholic platform) generated even greater attention when this site reported on how 20 heroic Catholic youths kept the statue from being torn down on June 20 by 200 Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists. A larger group of 75 pro-Serra supporters defended the statue from a BLM rally on the Fourth of July.  See Citizens Journal story: https://www.citizensjournal.us/independence-day-2020-venturas-bml-protest/

The main difference between June 20 and July 4th was that the City of Ventura had erected chain link fencing around the statue in order to deter any damage. The Junipero Serra statue issue has generated county, statewide and national attention.

Godspeak Pastor and former Thousand Oaks Mayor Rob McCoy explained why statues are important for American history during Fireside Chat 91 (a daily 7 p.m. livestream). He comments about Christopher Columbus: https://www.citizensjournal.us/pastor-rob-mccoy-explains-why-statues-are-important-for-american-history/  To view the June 20 episode go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT0NXwwHdBs.). To hear a five minute video clip with Pastor John MacArthur, Grace Community Church (Sun Valley) speaking his disapproval of Black Lives Matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYskKxGlefE.

In California, Junipero Serra statues have been torn down in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco) and at Olvera Street (Los Angeles). San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone asked: “What is happening to our society?” The California Catholic Conference of Bishops also responded.

To see the LifeSiteNews  story of the June 20 attempt to remove Junipero Serra in Ventura go to: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-youths-heroically-stop-california-mob-from-tearing-down-saints-statue

Meanwhile in Baltimore, Maryland, a Columbus statue dedicated to the Italian-American community by President Ronald Reagan in October 1984 was toppled and thrown into the city’s Inner Harbor by rioters on July 4. Statues of Columbus have also been toppled or vandalized in cities such as Miami; Richmond, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Boston, where one was decapitated. In Rochester, New York, a statue of Frederick Douglass, a Black abolitionist was torn down July 4.  Other statues of founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have been torn down in Portland, a statue of Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco and a statue of Hans Christian Heg in Wisconsin. Heg died fighting for the Union Army during the Civil War. 

Protesters had attempted to topple a statue of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson near the White House and the Emancipation Memorial of President Lincoln.

”The left-wing mob is trying to demolish our heritage. They are tearing down statues, desecrating monuments,” said President Donald J. Trump addressing 3,000 Students For Trump at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, June 23rd.  “This is not the behavior of a peaceful movement; but the behavior of totalitarians and people who don’t love our country. The left is not trying to promote justice or equality. They have one goal: to demolish monuments and attack churches. Nothing is sacred and no one is safe.

“We have a shared set of moral principles and enduring truth that the United States is the greatest and most righteous nation that ever existed.  Our beloved heroes (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses Grant) of American history that are being torn up by militant mobs are held up as examples to the world.  Our heroes are true examples of greatness and a point of pride. We will cherish them forever.”

The President followed his June 23 remarks made in Phoenix, Arizona with an Executive Order on Friday, June 26th aimed at protecting the country’s monuments, memorials and statues. “I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues—and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms (up to 10 years) for these lawless acts against our Great Country!” the president announced on Twitter.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on July 2 said he would be introducing legislation that withholds federal funding from states that do not stop vandals from destroying historic monuments and property. 

Junipero Serra statue plaza, Ventura City Hall, photo: David Pu’u

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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Ember Wyman

Please do not move or destroy the statue of Father Junipero Serra. It belongs where it was placed, by the community of Ventura and the generous fundraising efforts to replace the historic statue. It is as iconic as the train horn that announces the train’s arrival, in this beautiful city. The statue honors the history of California and the Christian churches that were established for communities, such as ours in Ventura. How better to teach the history of this great state and community than having this icon sitting prominently in downtown Ventura? Not everyone is inspired to visit museums but it is vital to teach/learn our history. Please do not give into the streaming rampage thriving on being up-in-arms, but let this statue inspire conversation and education. If we allow the removal of the statue from its place in front of City Hall, I fear the teaching of history (good, bad or indifferent) will continue to be replaced with relentless destruction and I believe generations that follow are going to lose valuable principals that grounded this great country, state and community and leave only the worst of history to be repeated.


Please keep the statue where it is. It’s another tourists attraction and being a Catholic, the statue is a great symbol for our faith. Thanks you

Brian Guevara

I too wrote the following to the council for tonight’s meeting. I just hope that they review it as we were only given 1,000 characters, including spaces, to state our case so I attached it.

I am against the removal of the Fr. Junipero Serra statue from its current location. Attempting to seize the moment under the current unrest playing out through our country by those who wish to overthrow all that we believe in as a country was wrong. There are some asking for its removal because they are ignorant of the facts. They claim that Fr. Serra was responsible for the genocide of the Native Americans during his tenure. In fact he was an advocate for them and prayed for their souls. He went to Mexico City in 1773 to convince the Spanish Viceroy to assist him in the protection of the indigenous people and walking away with what is known as “The Bill of Rights” for the Indians. This was three years BEFORE our very own constitution. Then there are those who either have no clue of American history or just don’t care and want all American statues and monuments removed even its of Lincoln and Grant who fought for the end of slavery, that of the 54th all black union regiment, Colonel Hans Christian Heg, a Norwegian immigrant who spent his life fighting slavery before dying in battle while leading Union soldiers in the American Civil War, or Frederick Douglas and the list goes on and on. This insanity has to stop and let it be here with our founder’s sculpture.

I understand that there are descendants of the Chumash nation who too wish for its removal but I am also aware of other people of Chumash ancestry that don’t want it removed. Once again usually between those that have studied their history and see Fr. Serra for what he was and the benefit that he was for them at the time versus those who are spouting another, undocumented version, based more in feelings and hearsay than facts. I have no objection of displaying a prominent Chumash leader’s figure in a location of honor within our city limits. It would be a righteous, appropriate and welcoming act. Please vote “NO” for the removal.

Kristyn Bennett

The statue is part of the history of Ventura and should stay where it is. Taking it down won’t change the past. Instead, create a monument to tell the other side of the story as well. Leave tje the statue alone.

Citizen Reporter

From the Nordskogs…



“We moved from SFV in early nineties, sometime around that time my Hall of Fame (Motorsports HOF) powerboat racing dad, Bob Nordskog, held a series of offshore races in Ventura Harbor. Powerboat Magazine (owned by Nordskog Publishing) provided the organization to promote and administer powerboat offshore racing boats in Ventura. In 1996 we had North American Championship Grand Prix in the harbor and at the Ventura Harbor Village and other venues in Ventura. The City of Ventura was one of the sponsors of the festival. Earlier Bob Nordskog held a powerboat race, as president of the Pacific Offshore Powerboat Association….. and came to Ventura for a race to help fund the Father Serra Statue in front of the government center while Serra watched the ocean slightly down the hill. It was a successful event and fund-raiser for the City of Ventura.
Jerry & Gail Nordskog