One reader shares his opinion on Arcata’s statue of William McKinley
The fight to remove the McKinley Statue from the Arcata Plaza has been a long fought battle. The McKinley Statue represents William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, who gave birth to U.S. imperialism through genocide and colonized over 7,000 islands in both the Pacific and Caribbean by instigating the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. Domestically, McKinley had a similar impact among the Native American community through breaking up several tribes, abandoning the African American community during times of race riots, and driving the U.S. into a depression.
The current movement to remove the McKinley Statue was launched by Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples because the Arcata Plaza is the same site where indigenous peoples were sold into slavery. Grassroots activism, led by the Historic Justice Alliance, successfully pressured Arcata City Council to vote to remove the McKinley statue on Feb. 21, and began the removal process. Following the vote, a small group of reactionaries organized a petition to keep the McKinley Statue, which was approved for the Nov. 6 ballot as Measure M.
So what does Measure M do? If Measure M goes to a “Yes” vote it would do several things. First, it would overturn the Arcata City Council decision and keep the statue. Second, it would prevent any future modification of the statue. Third, it prevents Arcata City Council from having any future say on the McKinley Statue despite being the original body that erected the statue. Lastly, if the statue comes down before Nov. 6 then the Arcata City Council is legally obligated to put it back up.
For students, this means that the next step in removing the McKinley Statue is going to the local polls where we have the power to influence the policies that affect future students. Currently, the Vote No on Measure M campaign is endorsed by more than 40 community organizations, including the Wiyot Tribal Council. Students are encouraged to vote “No” on Measure M on Nov. 6 by registering to vote by Oct. 22 in Arcata at https://registertovote.ca.gov.
Regional Mecha Co-Chair Northern California Minister of Communication
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