Lyda Krewson/Facebook

#ArchSoWhite: Lack of Diversity at Arch Ribbon-Cutting Sparks Social Media Firestorm

A glaring lack of diversity at the Arch grounds rededication prompts an Independence Day apology from organizers.

July 05, 2018 - 12:23 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A social media firestorm erupts over who cut the ribbon for the grand reopening of the Gateway Arch.

As KMOX's Michael Calhoun reports, organizers eventually issued a Fourth of July apology.

St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was the MC for the event, and other African-Americans were present for the ceremony. However, official photos show 16 people lined up behind the ribbon to be cut for the reopening of the Arch grounds, and no African-Americans are included.

"Not one black official @GatewayArchSTL including the rep that represents the arch!" tweeted State Rep. Bruce Franks, whose district includes the Arch.

Pictured are St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Roy Blunt, and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, among others, all of whom are white.

The city is almost 48 percent black, according to data from the U.S. Census - larger than any other racial group. 

The Gateway Arch Park Foundation released a statement, saying in part:

"As organizers of the event, we acknowledge that our ribbon cutting did not reflect the diversity of our community for that and for any hurt it has caused we are sorry."

The hashtag #ArchSoWhite is now circulating on social media.

A "Black Arch Ribbon Cutting Event" has been scheduled for noon Friday at the Arch Grounds.

"You can't have an event of this magnitude, with no black representation! #Period! So black leaders want to make it right," the event description reads.