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.
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.
RENAME PERSHING SQUARE Press Conference. Thursday 23 9/23 at 10 a.m., Pershing Square, steps at the corner of S Hill Street and 5th St.
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Join us and other community groups in asking City Council to rename Pershing Square, named after a white supremacist general with no connection to Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/kQyOqGlA58
– Rename Pershing Square (@RenamePershing) September 21, 2021
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.