Readers React

Sally Ride's statue in, Junipero Serra's out? Great idea!

To the editor: What a wonderful gesture that puts California in a positive light. Putting a statue of the late astronaut Sally Ride in the U.S. Capitol is symbolic of California's commitment to education and inclusiveness. ("State senator wants Sally Ride statue in U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall," Feb. 4)

Ride was brave, a scientist and a role model to so many. She represents a commitment to looking toward the future, toward understanding our place in the cosmos. She is everything Father Junipero Serra, whose statue Ride's would replace, is not.

It's time for California to give up honoring the medieval mentality that caused the suffering of so many and to instead pay tribute to a great and inspirational individual who is deserving of our recognition.

Tony Ferdyn, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: Your article refers to Thomas Starr King, whose Capitol statue was replaced by one of Ronald Reagan, as a "traveling preacher." Well, so was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., but they were both so much more.

In 1860, Thomas Starr King was called to serve the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco. He later felt a larger calling. He traveled throughout California, fighting to keep our state in the Union. At the time, many in the Union were writing California off as lost.

Thomas Starr King was so beloved that the state Legislature closed down for three days after his death in 1864 to honor him.

Switching him out of the U.S. Capitol for Reagan was a unfortunate, Hollywood-style move. His statue is now in the California Capitol building.

Colleen Bennett, La Verne

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