The University of California, Santa Cruz, is removing a "deeply painful" mission bell on campus as it symbolizes racism and dehumanization, the school said last week.
"These bells are deeply painful symbols that celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people," said Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. "They are constant reminders of the disrespect our tribe faces to this day."
The Amah Mutsun are the direct descendants of tribal groups whose villages and territories were connected to Missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz during the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, the school said.
Mission bells were installed across the state to memorialize the California Missions, the school added, but they're viewed as symbols of racism and dehumanization by many populations.
The UCSC bell is located near the Hahn Student Services Building, the school said.
"Val brought forth concerns to us about the symbolism of the bell," said Sarah Latham, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services. "He spoke of the historical injustices and oppression that the bell represents to the Amah Mutsun and indigenous populations. It was such a compelling statement of impact and I am pleased we have been able to work in partnership with them on the removal. Our students have also given voice to the need to remove the bell."
A ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m Friday by the Hahn building, the school said — and then the bell will be physically removed.
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