Community activists call on LA City Council to rename Pershing Square

A coalition of community activists are calling on the Los Angeles City Council to rename downtown’s Pershing Square.

Pershing Square was named after General John Pershing in 1918; however, the group wants to rename the park ‘Lawson Square’ after civil rights icon Reverend James Lawson. He spent 25 years in LA as a pastor.

The group, called Rename Pershing Square, says Pershing Square is named after a "white supremacist general with no ties to Los Angeles, responsible for genocidal campaigns against communities dear to Los Angeles (Filipino, Native American, Muslim, Korean and Mexican)," their website read

They held a press conference Thursday discussing their reason for the name change.  

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"This park was named Pershing Square in honor of Armistice Day, which is the conclusion of World War I and it was named for Pershing for his role in World War I. Well Armistice Day is a celebration of peace. And so if Los Angeles really wants to have Pershing Square represent peace as it was originally 100 years ago named to commemorate, it doesn’t make sense to have Pershing. While he may have been celebrated for peace at the end of World War I, his other actions throughout his career are in no way representative of peace," said Mike Prysner with the Coalition to Rename Pershing Square. 

The coalition includes members with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, American Indian Movement SoCal and so many others. 

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