VENTURA, Calif. - In a unanimous vote, Ventura City Council ordered two statues of Junipero Serra to be removed from city property during a special meeting Wednesday night.
"In recent weeks, the City of Ventura received thousands of emails, phone calls, and public comments about the Father Junipero Serra statue," Ventura City Manager Alex D. McIntyre said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Last night the City Council reached a peaceful resolution to remove and relocate two Serra statues."
A bronze statue of the Catholic saint stands on public property in front of city hall. It will be put in storage with the goal of moving it to Mission San Buenaventura.
A wooden statue of Serra inside Ventura City Hall will be moved into storage until another site can be found for it.
Serra is credited with starting the California mission system, but critics say he destroyed Native American culture.
"When a group of people has suffered trauma, we all need to step up and do something to heal that," Deputy Mayor Sofia Rubalcava said. "The actions the Council took are a step forward as we stand in solidarity with our Chumash community.
"As we relocate the statues, we hope to provide healing time for our city and find a more suitable place for the Father Serra statues to be protected and preserved. We'd like to thank everyone in the community who got involved and came together during this public process. We are glad this historic decision involved so many voices."
To view the special City Council Meeting conducted on July 15, 2020, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/FatherSerra.