Community groups want Pershing Square renamed for LA civil rights figure James Lewis – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A coalition of community organizations is calling for Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles to be renamed in honor of civil rights figure and pastor, James Lewis.

(credit: CBS)

The Outer Square, a rather small public park adjacent to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, has been the scene of a number of big political events and rallies in recent years. The park is also a metro line station and annually hosts an outdoor ice rink during the holidays.

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Pershing Square was originally opened by Mayor Cristobal Aguilar in 1866 and named in honor of General John J. Pershing in 1918.

The park’s namesake is a problematic historical figure, according to the Rename Pershing Square coalition. The group calls Pershing a “white supremacist general” who has never had any connection to Los Angeles and has waged genocidal campaigns against the ethnic communities that are part of the fabric of the city – including Native Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos. , Koreans and Muslims.

Pershing’s forces massacred hundreds of people in an attempt to crush the Mexican Revolution and led the mission to track down and kill Pancho Villa.

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The group is calling on the Los Angeles City Council to rename the park in honor of Lewis, who they say spent 25 years as a community, labor and religious leader in LA.

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