MISSION HILLS, CA. – As Confederate statues and memorials around the country are being targeted for removal, some felt it was only a matter of time before other “offensive” monuments were targeted. On Thursday, a photo of a statue of Father Junipero Serra, located in a park across from Mission San Fernando, popped up on social media, covered in graffiti.
In the photo, the statue is covered in red and white paint. The head is capped with red paint, and it appears that red paint is dripping from the statue’s eyes. Down the front side of the Fr. Serro statue, white painted letters spell “Murder.”
The controversy over the statue stems from allegations that the man was not the saint the Catholic Church says he was. Detractors claim Fr. Serra abused California Indians and destroyed part of their culture.
City officials would not confirm the authenticity of the photo or that it had been cleaned, but a local CBS2 reporter saw the remnants of red paint on Fr. Serra’s arm, as well as a red swastika on the statue of the child standing next to him. (See photos below).
Those visiting the park to see if the damage had occurred, or if the photo was merely a hoax, had mixed feelings about its existence in the park.
Most denounced the vandalism, saying vandalizing anything in the “beautiful park” takes the enjoyment away from people visiting.
Some interviewed felt the statue should be removed from the park, and suggestions of placing it in a museum were made. One person said it should be replaced with something that showed appreciation to native people instead.
The park, which is mainly used for taking photos, is not the right place to express hatred, according to one park-goer.
“You need to respect and conserve everything,” Taresa Cirracco observed.
Referring to the statue and allegations against Fr. Serra, Cristian Ramirez, a local resident, said, “We don’t want this violent history to be praised in our community.”
A man who frequents the park told reporters teenagers probably tagged the statue.
Juniperro Serra statue vandalized. You really thought they would stop at confederate monuments?Media gave then a pass. You gave them a pass. pic.twitter.com/pZCN9tdnYc
— DEUS VULT (@elrifrawad) August 18, 2017
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