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Removal of the Rev. Junipero Serra Statues Could Start Healing Process

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Some scholars say the violent toppling of a statue of Father Junipero Serra in downtown Saturday could be the start of a healing process for many oppressed communities, including Native American tribes of the region caught in the pathway of the Spanish Inquisition.

Many acts of racial violence were centered in the pueblo of the Los Angeles area in downtown, said Alexandro José Gradilla,  an associate professor of Chicana Chicano studies at California State University, Fullerton. “There was a massacre of Chinese workers. There was a massacre of African Americans, so that site has had a lot of historic violence,” he said. “The fact that the Natives are trying to restore something by tearing that statue down, I think is quite significant and in a big picture way, quite healing.”

CSUF religious studies lecturer, Janet Bregar, said though difficult for some, it was time to acknowledge the facts of this painful period in California’s history.

“We have to take that lens of the 1700s, the 1800s and take it away and that makes people upset because you’re pulling away something that their religious world and their heritage is built on and it’s hard, but it’s harder to be oppressed by those myths and that’s what people have to have respect for,” Bregar said. Continue reading at