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Council Proposal Recognizes Lynching of Francisco Arias and José Chamales as 'Act of Racial Terror'
by Santa Cruz News
On May 14 the Santa Cruz City Council passed a motion to request a recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission (for return to the August 13th City Council meeting for action) for the placement of a historic plaque on Water Street Bridge recognizing the lynching of Francisco Arias and José Chamales. The men, who were Californios, Spanish speaking Mexican and Native American men, were lynched on the bridge on May 2, 1877, shortly after their arrest on murder charges. "The lynching was, far more than anything else, an act of racial terror," wrote Councilmembers Sandy Brown, Drew Glover and Chris Krohn in their proposal submitted to council describing the need for the plaque. "Lacking recognition of this downtown lynching is a significant omission; this could be perceived by some as indicative of a wider reluctance to acknowledge our racial history," they wrote in the meeting's agenda report.
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