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Boston Votes to Remove Emancipation Memorial in Park Square

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A unanimous vote on Tuesday by the Boston Art Commission means the famous Emancipation Memorial — depicting President Abraham Lincoln with a freed slave — will come down.

The statue celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, which Lincoln signed in 1863 and declares “that all persons held as slaves” within the Confederacy “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

A petition calling for the removal of the statue received over 12,000 signatures as of Wednesday. The move to take down the art comes in the wake of George Floyd‘s death and a push for statues deemed racist to be taken down across the nation.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh gave his full support for the removal of the statue and thanked the commission for their work.

“After engaging in a public process, it’s clear that residents and visitors to Boston have been uncomfortable with this statue, and its reductive representation of the Black man’s role in the abolitionist movement,” Walsh said in a statement.

According to CBS Boston, the commission has not set a removal yet and the group is determining how to “re-contextualize” the statue in a new public setting.

“Public art is storytelling at the street level. As such, the imagery should strike the heart and engage the mind,” said Vice-Chair of the Boston Art Commission Ekua Holmes in a statement. “What I heard today is that it hurts to look at this piece, and in the Boston landscape we should not have works that bring shame to any groups of people, not only in Boston but across the entire United States.”

The monument has stood in a park near Boston Common since 1879 and is a replica of the Washington D.C. Emancipation Memorial statue.

The inscription on the statue reads: “A race set free/ and the country at peace / Lincoln / Rests from his labors.”

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Economy

Chevron downsizes global San Fran headquarters, paying for employees to move to Texas office

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Oil giant Chevron made a huge announcement saying it will be closing its current global headquarters in San Ramon, California. Even more telling, its encouraging employees to move to Houston, Texas.

The San Francisco Gate reported “the oil company will cover relocation costs for those voluntarily leaving for the Texas office, which has been growing and employs nearly 6,000 people. Meanwhile, the San Ramon office buildings have experienced dwindling numbers in recent years.”

Although the company is not leaving the state completely, “company leadership has pushed for a permanent move to Texas in the past” adds SFGATE. Chevron, which has had “deep roots” in California going back to the late 1800s, will vacate its 100-acre campus in 2023.

The Wall Street Journal reports the business hopes to move into a smaller space in San Ramon, which will remain its headquarters. A company spokesperson told SFGATE “the current real estate market provides the opportunity to right-size our office space to meet the requirements of our headquarters-based employee population.”

“The move is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2023” they continued. “Chevron will remain headquartered in California, where the company has a 140-year history and operations and partnerships throughout the state.”

The SFGATE notes Chevron is one of “the East Bay’s legacy companies joining the trend” to move their headquarters out of the area in recent years. Tech companies such as startups like Coinbase to industry pioneers like Hewlett Packard and Oracle have all vacated, with Elon Musk having been “one particularly outspoken voice decrying California’s business conditions.”

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