Activists Call For Better Understanding of History as Statues and Monuments Come Down

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People stand on a concrete pedestal where a statue of Christopher Columbus once stood at the foot of Coit Tower on June 18, 2020 in San Francisco, California. City workers removed a bronze statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus from Pioneer Park at the foot of Coit Tower after the statue had recently been vandalized and following reports that protesters had plans to topple the statue and dump it in the San Francisco Bay.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Throughout California, statues of controversial historical figures such as Junipero Serra and Christopher Columbus are being removed. This follows a trend across the nation to demolish what some consider symbols of racism, oppression, and injustice. Indigenous leaders have fought for decades against celebrating Serra and Columbus, who they see as having committed genocide against Native Americans. Others argue that destroying statues and monuments could silence some parts of history instead of expanding our knowledge of it. In this hour, we’ll dive into the debate over toppling statues and monuments as well as who we memorialize and why.


Greg Sarris, Tribal Chairman, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria; Endowed Chair of Creative Writing and American Indian literature, Sonoma State University.

Valentin Lopez, chairman, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

Adam Domby, history professor, College of Charleston and author of The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory

Damian Bacich, professor, San Jose State University; founder, The California Frontier Project