We Have A Long Road Ahead

Many thanks to the writers of the extremely informative “Why They Had to Go: Statement on The Fall of The Pioneer Statues” (EW, 6/25). I moved to the Eugene area in 2013 from out of state, and like most Americans had been taught the white-washed (pun intended) version of hard-working pioneers settling the Western territories.

I did not know the 1919 dedication ceremony for The Pioneer had extolled the “conquest of the ‘Anglo-Saxon race’ over savage Indians” in the context of the eugenics movement. Only after moving here did I learn of Oregon’s laws designed to keep Black and Brown people out and not mixing with Whites. 

The continuing resistance to taking the statues off their pedestals and plainly explaining their racist significance speaks volumes. As Black Lives Matter activists keep reminding us, we have a long way to go in dismantling this country’s institutionalized racism. It’s time to buck up for the long haul. 

Leigh Rieder