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Ventura City Council Votes To Remove Junipero Serra Statue

CBS Los Angeles logo CBS Los Angeles 7/16/2020 Syndicated Local – CBS Los Angeles

VENTURA (CBSLA) – The Ventura City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to remove a controversial statue of Father Junipero Serra from outside its City Hall.

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A statue of Father Junipero Serra in front of Ventura City Hall. July 2020. (KEYT-TV)

Mayor Matt LaVere, who recused himself from the vote, confirmed to CBSLA that the council voted 6-0 to remove the bronze statue and relocate it to the Mission San Buenaventura.

A wooden statue of Serra located inside City Hall will also be relocated, according to KEYT-TV.

Serra’s legacy has come under fire in the wake of the George Floyd protests and the discussion it has prompted over racial injustice.

Serra brought Catholic missions to California in the 18th century and founded nine of the 21 current missions in the state.

In 2015, he was canonized by Pope Francis — the first canonization on U.S. soil — and has remained a controversial figure for what critics argue was his poor treatment of Native Americans. They say he was an agent of Spanish colonialism who forced them to convert to Catholicism and destroyed their tribes and culture.

A Serra statue was toppled in downtown Los Angeles last month, as was one in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

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