(CBS SF) — A California legislator has proposed replacing missionary-priest Junipero Serra’s statue from the U.S. Capitol with one of astronaut Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara of Los Angeles introduced the resolution weeks after Pope Francis announced plans to canonize Father Serra during his visit to the U.S. this fall.READ MORE: UPDATE: Estrada Fire Containment 35%; Evacuation Orders Downgraded as Crews Mop Up
Each state has two statues on display in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. California is currently represented by former President Ronald Reagan and Father Serra, who’s legacy has been criticized by some over alleged oppression of Native Americans while he was founding California’s earliest missions, including Mission Dolores in San Francisco.
According to Lara’s office, the proposal “aims to relocate the statue of Father Junipero Serra, known as an eloquent preacher and founder of numerous missions throughout California, at a location in California where citizens and visitors can enjoy it and be reminded of his significant historical impact upon our state.”READ MORE: Hollywood Movie, TV Workers Reach Deal With Producers to Avert Strike
If the legislation is successful, Ride would be the first member of the LGBT community and the first woman representing California to be placed in the hall at the U.S. Capitol.
“Though Father Serra is a controversial figure, this effort is about recognizing the invaluable contributions of an accomplished Californian and American pioneer: Dr. Sally Ride,” Lara told the Los Angeles Times.
“Dr. Sally Ride is a California native, American hero and stratospheric trailblazer who devoted her life to pushing the limits of space and inspiring young girls to succeed in math and science careers,” Lara said.MORE NEWS: COVID Vaccination Count in San Mateo County Revised Down Due to Data Error