The Ventura County seal’s left side is dominated by an image of Serra, with a mission church in the background. The right side of the seal shows various industries of Ventura County.
But Ventura County CEO Mike Powers, who oversees county operations, announced a planned redesign of the seal at a June 23 meeting of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.
“Throughout the state and locally there has been a lot of discussion about removal of images and monuments of Father Serra due to the treatment of Native Americans,” he said. “Similarly, our county seal here does include an image of Father Serra.”
The county seal, adopted in 1964, is present on city buildings, vehicles and other locations.
Referring to actions of the City Council of Ventura, which unanimously voted to remove two statues of the saint from city hall grounds, Powers said “it is a good time to begin that dialogue with your board.”
The Ventura County Star on July 20 quoted four of the five elected officials on the county’s Board of Supervisors, none of whom defended the presence of Serra on the seal.
“Where would the County of Ventura be today without Junipero Serra? The establishment of the missions and presidios—and the subsequent expansion of colonial settlements—created new and dynamic relations and communities within and between colonists and native people across California,” Fr. Tom Elewaut, pastor of the Old Mission Basilica of San Buenaventura, told CNA.
“Fruits, vegetables, wineries, flora, and fauna that we cherish today are due to the Mission era initially established by St. Junipero Serra in Alta California.”
The priest welcomed support from county residents and those outside the county “to pray and to speak in defense of St. Serra,” he said.