Palm Springs Human Rights Commission recommends removing Frank Bogert Statue

Olivia Sandusky

In the 1960s, Janel Hunt’s grandmother lived on section 14, before she was forced out.

Now Janel says the statue of Frank Bogert reminds her of that painful time.

“I’m hurt because I’m standing next to the statue. Some individuals of our family came home one day and there was nothing there. None of their belongings were there. They basically had to get up and move,” said Hunt.

In the 50s and 60s, Bogert was part of the Palm Springs City Council.

During that period, the city evicted residents living downtown on section 14.

According to the Attorney General, many were minorities, and their homes were burned or destroyed, sometimes without warning.

Now Janel says Bogert’s statue should be removed.

“Some people say Frank Bogert was a pioneer. He may have been a pioneer, but it was only to certain communities. He was not a pioneer to the residents and family of mine that lived in section 14,” said Hunt. 

Monday night, the Palm Springs Human Rights commission voted 5-1 on a resolution to recommend taking down the statue.

The item can now be discussed at future city council meetings.

Those who opposed argued about the accuracy of the section 14 accounts, and said Bogert was too instrumental to remove.

“It’s absurd you’re taking away our culture of Palm Springs. We need not cancel our pioneers. We need to respect them and allow them to remain,” said Susan Smith.

Since June of last year, a petition has circulated in favor of removing the statue.

Since then, the city has discussed issuing a formal apology about section 14, but the petition’s creator says he believes more needs to be done.

“An apology is a good start, accepting responsibility for what happened, but it’s nor anywhere near enough,” said David Weiner.

And Janel says she agrees, adding that several families are still struggling from the cities actions decades later.

“Because of the displacement there needs to be something. Whether it’s reparations or helping families that were uplifted from section 14 establish their own residency,” said Hunt.

Palm Springs City council has planned to meet with the Human Rights Commission in May 20 to discuss a formal apology about section 14.

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