Park Grand Opening Must ‘Do-Over’ After Complaint About All-White Ribbon Cutting Photo

FILE - In this July 3, 2018, file photo, Susan Saarinen, daughter of Gateway Arch architect Eero Saarinen, cuts the ribbon dedicating the renovation to the newly renamed Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. Democratic state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., who is black, is calling for a do-over after …
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The grand opening of the revitalized Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis on Tuesday happened a second time after a state lawmaker complained that the photo capturing the ribbon cutting was too white and did not reflect the “diversity” of the city.

“Democratic state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., who is black, is calling for a do-over after the ribbon cutting event included only white people,” the Associated Press (AP) reported on Thursday. “The Gateway Arch Park Foundation apologized Wednesday, July 4 for the lack of diversity.”

In the photo Susan Saarinen, daughter of Gateway Arch architect Eero Saarinen, cuts the ribbon with other officials looking on, including Republican Gov. Mike Parson and U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and Roy Blunt, a Republican.

Franks said Thursday on Facebook Live that the image didn’t reflect the city he represents. Franks held a revised grand opening on Friday and invited black leaders in the city to take part, AP reported.

“We want to show what St. Louis really looks like,” Franks said.

The Gateway Arch Park Foundation responsible for the ribbon cutting ceremony issued an apology on Wednesday.

“As organizers of the event, we acknowledge that our ribbon cutting did not reflect the diversity of our community,” the statement said.

The grand opening on Tuesday came after a five year, $380 million renovation. It was the first major upgrade to the national park since it opened in 1965. AP noted that most of the money for the project came from private donations.

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