VIDEO: Group works to get ‘offensive’ pioneer statue removed from San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — There are new calls to remove Confederate symbols and statues across the country.

Some say they honor our country’s history. But others argue they showcase slavery and white supremacy.

And the calls to remove, what some say is a painful reminder of our nation’s past, made its way back to San Francisco.

Some say a statue in San Francisco is offensive and needs to go. The statue is the pioneer statue in Civic Center Plaza.

Those working to get part of it taken down say it idolizes a dark part of California history.

Between the Asian Art Museum and the Main Library stands the 35-foot-tall bronze and granite, “Pioneer Monument.”

Completed in 1894, the section now in question is the pier at the base depicting Early Days.

“It just looks like a celebration of a history frankly many in San Franciscans are not proud of,” Supervisor Jane Kim said.

Towering above an American Indian man is a Spaniard, with his arm raised. A missionary also points down at him.

It shows colonizers dominating over Native Americans.

“Members of the Native American community, actually for decades, have felt disrespected by this monument,” Kim said.

The statue sits in Supervisor Kim’s district.

She supports the petition gaining strength to remove the section of the 800-ton statue.

There is also Facebook group advocating that it go.

“We are not talking about destroying the statue,” Kim said. “We are just talking about removing it and putting it in a place where perhaps members of the community can have a real dialogue in a museum or in a library.”

This is not the first time the statue was the center of controversy.

In the 90s, the compromise to keep it came with the addition of a plaque, stating the statue is a reflection of the times, not of current attitudes in San Francisco.

But you have to climb on to the statue to see it as it is hidden behind plants and hard to read.

“It’s not a reflection of the values that we hold here in San Francisco today as a sanctuary city and a city that respects and tolerates diversity,” Kim said.

The group, which started the petition, has successfully gotten a public hearing scheduled before the Arts Commission on Oct. 2 where the debate to keep or remove the statue will begin.

One suggestion is to add a statue of Bay Area native Maya Angelou there.

Supporters say it would be at an appropriate place since the spot sits right next to the library.



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