We Pulled Down The Statues: Pioneer Statues Come Down Following an Evening of Education

By Dionysus June 14, 2020

By Dionysus

June 14, 2020

What promised to be a radical, relaxed teach-in transformed in a moment of revolutionary furor. The event planned for the day, “Community Teach In: Oregon’s Racist History,” began at a comfortable few minutes past 6pm. A series of three speeches were given, all touching upon colonialism in the United States, Oregon’s extensive and frankly shockingly racist history, and exploitation under capitalism. At around 7pm, the speeches drew to a close, and the crowd was told to disperse or do as the please – two tables full of free food and revolutionary literature were set up on location. However, the revolutionary ferver could not be contained, and so a group of comrades unaffiliated with the Bipoc Liberation Collective (BLC) organizers, stood up and reminded the crowd of the presence of racist statues not but 20 yards from their current location.

Immediately the majority of the approximately 250 people joined in a march from Deady Hall to the “Pioneer Father,” which was erected to celebrate the strength of the “race.” The mass of anxious yet eager radicals formed a semi circle around the statue as the ropes wrapped around the torso and neck of the statue. Moments later, they formed two lines and began to pull. The ropes tightened, and then, silence. In this odd tranquility there rose the question: what will happen? The reverie evaporated with the clanging of metal and concrete giving way. The statue plunged into the sidewalk below with a horrid screech. 

The crowd erupted in a moment of adulation, which then crystallized into a single message: “Let’s drag it to Johnson Hall.” The crowd quickly reassembled under the chant “stay together, stay tight” and dragged the statue across 13th Ave. and up the stairs to the door of the seat of power at the University. 

The spirit of history was felt by all who there present, such that there was only one option: to tear down all symbols glorifying exploitation and embodying hate. The other statue at this location was a partner statue to the Pioneer Statue, the “Pioneer Mother.” And so too it fell, with the sparks of pickaxes flowing as they removed the metal epitaphs and engravings from their marble mountings on the base of the statue. With this moment of triumph, the mass marched off together, into the alleys of Eugene. With so many years and entire generations of local residents campaigning for the removal of the statues, the deed is done at last. This has been a victory, but we have not won. The struggle continues. 

Day of Demands: Ducks Demand Democracy

…of campus. Despite the event’s central location, the majority of pedestrians on campus that day simply shrugged and walked past the fishbowl, unmotivated to engage with radical movements at the…

Cops Off Campus Kick-Off

…alarming number of police shootings of people of color, including the 2019 killing of Eliborio Rodriguez. One serious issue that Cops Off Campus is currently working to change is the…

Public Records Request Reveals Campus Collusion with the CIA

…The Career Center says that the CIA has shown interest in making another visit to campus in the spring. Any details of an on-campus visit will be posted on Handshake….

East-campus Housing Mold

…up, thus yielding less than rent. Meanwhile, multiple construction projects on campus have built new facilities, amenities and luxuries all over campus during the past several months. A lawsuit filed…

Time to Strike: Democratize the Board

…establish systems of excellently-democratic representation on campus. Together, we can build campus communities actually capable of achieving the dreamy scenario laid out in my introduction. Nothing about us, without us….

How UO’s COVID Response Underscores the Necessity of Democratzing the Board of Trustees

…later move out mid-way through the year if conditions worsened. Throughout the 2020/2021 school year, the @covid.campus Instagram page diligently compiled anonymous testimony from the campus community about how they…

GTFF Demands Safer Working & Learning Conditions Through Protest: and SUCCEEDS

…work takes place in shared spaces;• Require the use of and provide all UO employees and students with N95 or KN95 masks on campus;• Increase on-campus testing capacity and require…

CIA, Go Away!

…questions: Who arranged for the CIA to recruit on campus, and why? Most importantly, what can we do to stop it from happening?During a time of resurgence for campus organizing,…

Grants Pass High School Protest – Student Response

…in his frustration by many students across campus, including senior Evan Tucker. “When I heard how Mr. Kuhlman voted, I was not surprised; but I was still angry. I had…

Angela Davis Is Coming To Campus

…activism, and second wave feminist movements, continues with her contemporary activism. Friday April 30th, 4-6pm. Located at the University of Oregon campus in Straub Hall room 156. View campus map…

Disaster Capitalist Drowned out on Campus

A regular Wednesday guest lecture on campus became an anti-logging protest when a group of activists shut down a talk given by Tyler Freres of Freres Lumber. Freres, a third-generation…

GTFF Speaks Out Against UO’s Back to School Protocols

…classes on campus:Proper on-campus protectionSufficient HEPA filters in every classroom, office, & labOnly holding classes in rooms with sufficient ventilationN95s for every student and how to wear them (they already…

Vivian Day Care Responds to Staff COVID Safety Concerns

Teachers at the Vivian Olum Child Development Center were awarded a pay-raise and shorter work hours after weeks-long negotiations with administrative staff at the Center and UO Campus Services administration….