Thursday, July 16, 2020

it PASSED!!!

!   The Board of Park Commissioners just voted UNANIMOUSLY to remove the statue from Riverside Park! After a nearly hour-long delay during which a 30 day referral was discussed and news announced that an application had been made to have the statue designated as an historic landmark, the board rejected a referral by a 4 to 4 vote (one commissioner moved to the other side of the state earlier this year and that seat is not vacant).

Two members of the Ho-Chunk Nation spoke at the public hearing. Both we adamant that the discussions have been held, the information has been given, and it's time to take the step. 

Commissioners Roger Christians and Sandy Cleary were strongly in favor of removal from the start of the meeting. Mr. Christians noted that this was the same tortured process UWL went through when it decided several years ago to replace its mascot. The same arguments were given, the same delays were sought. But, he said, five years later no one would ever consider going back. 

He also noted that this is a great opportunity for our community to move forward together, including Native Americans and the community in finding a better way to honor and educate about the Ho-Chunk people and the history of La Crosse. 

City Council representative Larry Sleznikow also spoke and encouraged the Board to act immediately, listen to the people, and move forward in a positive direction.

In addition to those who spoke at the public hearing, the board received at least eleven letters. 

At long last, the statue is coming down. The motion to remove included instructions for Park Department staff to work on a replacement. We look forward to seeing something that represents a new way of including and honoring and remembering and healing.

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