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'We shouldn't be distracted' | St. Louis mayor addresses call to rename city, remove Forest Park statue

Mayor Lyda Krewson stressed taking down a statue wouldn’t directly change the root of the problems in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — Statues and monuments are coming down across the U.S. as the history of those figures come under increased scrutiny.

Even in St. Louis we’ve seen changes. The Christopher Columbus statue was removed from Tower Grove Park. A well-known restaurant changed its name citing the association of the word with “a troubled history.”

And groups are calling for more changes. There’s a push to rename Delmar Boulevard – commonly known as the “Delmar Divide” – to George Floyd Divide.

READ MORE: A call to remove the Saint Louis statue in Forest Park

READ ALSO: So, how did St. Louis get its name anyways?

There’s a call to bring down the King Louis IX statue that stands at the top of Art Hill overlooking Forest Park. That same group also wants to rename the city.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said she’s against those calls for change.

“I am not in favor of that,” she said Wednesday. “I think it’s a distraction to a lot of hard work that we all need to do.”

The topic came up during a question-and-answer portion of the mayor’s Facebook Live briefing Wednesday, which she has been doing three times a week during the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Here's why Columbus and Confederate statues went up in the first place

She said she doesn’t dispute that many statues involve people from another time period who – by today’s standards – were probably involved in something inappropriate that would not be acceptable now.

“But I'm not in favor of removing the statue of Saint Louis. I'm not in favor of renaming the City of St. Louis. I'm not in favor of renaming Jefferson Street,” she said. “We could get really tied up in that.”

The mayor stressed taking down a statue wouldn’t directly change the root of the problems in St. Louis.

“That would not mean that Black people in our city had better opportunities or better education or were treated more fairly or had more equitable outcomes. So, that's the way I see it,” she said. “I think we have hard work to do here. We shouldn't be distracted.“

More coverage about calls to remove statues:

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