City Council debates Junipero Serra statue Tuesday

By Michael Hernandez 

VENTURA—A progressive petition platform has collected (as of noon Monday) 4,915 signatures to keep the Junipero Serra statue displayed in front of City Hall. The issue is set to be debated as Agenda Item 12A at Tuesday’s (July 7) Ventura City Council special meeting starting at 6 p.m.

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 two separate petitions in favor of the Junipero Serra statue can be found at:

  • Submitted by Patrick Rea (4,518 signatures):

https://www.change.org/p/historians-fr-serra-statue-in-ventura-we-wont-let-iconoclasts-erase-history-6083485a-fd1b-47e3-94c7-73fbded3067d

  • Submitted by Jeanette Hernandez (397 signatures):

https://www.change.org/p/ventura-city-hall-keep-the-fra-junipero-serra-statue-at-ventura-county-city-hall?

See directions below for submitting public comments to the Ventura City Council:

Submit your comments via email by 4:00 p.m. on the City Council meeting day (July 7). Please submit your comment to the City Clerk using this form https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1829/City-CouncilMeeting-Electronic-Comment-

or send an email to [email protected] (up to 1000 characters) When sending an email, please indicate in the Subject Line, the Agenda item number (i.e. Item No. 12A). Your form/email will be read by City Council and placed into the item’s record at the meeting.

Join a WebEx meeting LIVE: https://cityofventura.webex.com/cityofventura/onstage/g.php?MTID=e2f5a7f2f4edd614dc3dbf0f97d113774

NOTE: WebEx link only works while meeting is LIVE. After meeting has ended, use the Archived Video link to view the meeting. You must join the WebEx Meeting to provide Public Comment. Join with only an “audio” connection: 1-408-418-9388 / Access Code 126 228 9208 

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.

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.)

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 – David Pu’u, July 4th 2020

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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One Response to City Council debates Junipero Serra statue Tuesday

  1. Citizen Reporter July 6, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Please show up or send comments if you value saving history and fighting mob rule. I’m no fan of Serra, but Ventura exists because of him.

    Reply

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