Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

As many Americans celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend,
a small group of activists gathered Friday at the foot of Coit Tower, the
former site of the Christopher Columbus Statue in San Francisco, to celebrate
what they believe are a few local accomplishments for Native Americans and the
Black Lives Matter movement.

Sitting at the pedestal, where the statue once stood, a band
played for the group of organizers.

“We’re celebrating the taking down of the Columbus statue
that represents the colonization and repression of Indigenous people,” said
Lucia Obregon of San Francisco.

Last month, the city removed the statue that had been the
target of vandals for years. Protesters then pulled down the statue of Father
Junipero Serra, which had been standing in Golden Gate Park.

“Obviously the statues are down,” said Javier Biagas of
Oakland. “And so the big question is, what do we do now, and where do we go
from here?”

As a Lakota Sioux Tribe member, Biagas said his family has
been involved in Native American activism since the 1970s. On Friday, his
cousins were even protesting President Donald Trump’s appearance at Mount
Rushmore, which is a sacred site.

At the event in San Francisco, it was part celebration and
part brainstorming session, along with a pledge for continued solidarity with
Black Lives Matter and other groups.

“Black and Brown have always been together,” said one of the activists. “We know the struggles, we know the injustices that we have faced, but what you saw up there, the solidarity, that’s just what we do.”


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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