‘There’s no room for racism in San Francisco, and the ‘Early Days’ statue has no place being displayed in our Civic Center, the heart of our City’
SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 2, 2021) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera and the San Francisco Arts Commission Director of Cultural Affairs Ralph Remington released the following statements today after a decision by the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the City’s removal the “Early Days” statue in 2018:
“We’re pleased that the court of appeal affirmed the City’s decision to remove the ‘Early Days’ statue,” said City Attorney Herrera. “The City had full discretion to remove the statue and did so after an open, public process, and without prejudice or discrimination against any groups. The statue advanced a painful, racist narrative that was hurtful and derogatory towards Native Americans. The court’s thoughtful decision spoke to the historic context of the statue and that it has long been recognized as a degrading representation of Native Americans. In a time when cities across the country are reckoning with their histories and the representations of those histories in public places, San Francisco moved to soundly reject this hurtful image. I want to thank the Arts Commission for initiating the removal of the statue. There’s no room for racism in San Francisco, and the ‘Early Days’ statue has no place being displayed in our Civic Center, the heart of our City. We’re proud to have successfully defended the City’s decision to remove the statue and to help us take a step towards a more equitable San Francisco.”
“After decades of community outcry over the racist representation of Native Americans in the Early Days sculpture, numerous public meetings expressing the impact of historic trauma, extensive research and legal briefs, and a lawsuit that spanned more than two years, restorative justice has been achieved through this final ruling on the statue’s removal,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Ralph Remington. This decision offers a vision for the future on who and what we choose to represent and venerate in the public commons. Moreover, this ruling helps anchor our work examining the historic pieces in San Francisco’s Civic Art Collection and is ideally timed as we launch a community-driven process of assessment and review of our monuments and memorials.”
The case is: Frear Stephen Schmid et. al v. City and County of San Francisco et. al, San Francisco Superior Court, CGC-18-571283, filed Nov. 18, 2018. A copy of the decision can be found here.
Additional documentation from the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at: https://www.sfcityattorney.org/.
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