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Letters to the Editor: Leave the statues standing, but make them educational by changing how they’re labeled

Serra statue
Activists topple the statue of Junipero Serra at Father Serra Park in El Pueblo de Los Angeles on June 20.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: With statues coming down faster than face coverings at a Trump rally, rather than removing the sculptures from their pedestals, I would suggest a more difficult process but perhaps a better solution: Leave the statues in place but remove the commemorative plaques and rewrite them with current sentiments in mind.

Label a Confederate leader a contra, a violent protester or an insurgent. Label a slaveholder or a conquistador as an uber capitalist.

Maybe relabeling is the steeper path, but historic signposts like statues can then be more educational.

David Ando, Torrance

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To the editor: The increasingly slipshod reactions to the symbolism of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should alarm everyone.

Although it remains unhelpful and unwise to judge past figures by today’s moral standards, even in the 1700s slavery was widely condemned. But the grave contradictions of our Revolution-era leaders are way less than the grand total of what they did by protecting America from extermination and setting it deliberately on the path to mass enfranchisement, freedom and legal equality for all people.

It is a distinction that Frederick Douglass, the former slave and greatest abolitionist, championed. It is a journey that is far from over, but it will not be aided by tearing down statues or splashing them with intimidating messages. These are the actions of mob rule, not democracy.

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Dane Steven Skorup, Sandwich, Ill.

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To the editor: Erecting statues to military men is a habit left over from a patriarchal world that places too much value on hierarchy.

How about we pay tribute to noteworthy events without singling out one man who could not have achieved so much without the support, work and probably love of others? A president or general can well be an outstanding individual, but his staff, the troops, his parents and his family are likely to be key to his success.

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So, put up a gazebo, a monolith or other generic monument, but not a statue depicting any particular person.

Parrish Nelson Hirasaki, Culver City

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To the editor: The powers that be should get ahead of the protests that are destroying or defacing monuments. Recognize now that these historical figures no longer deserve public display and admiration.

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Identify a museum or even a warehouse, and then remove the statues promptly and store them in a place that can include the context of who they are, what they stood for and their role in history.

Sam Knight, Poway