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Community holds peaceful protest through art for Sumner Station

Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 17:22:53-04

Some people protest with their voices, others with their art.

“If artists of every generation are not speaking up about the things that are going on, then I don’t think they’re doing the right thing,” Deidre Hathor, an artist and volunteer with The Hub of Bakersfield said.

On Sunday, The Hub of Bakersfield and Old Town Kern community raised their voices for Sumner Station, what they call a local staple since the 1800s, from possible demolition once Union Pacific moves their offices elsewhere.

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“It’s an area of town that’s kind of forgotten and kind of in desperate need of love,” Sarah Swenson Cooper, a local artist and member of The Hub of Bakersfield said.

With every thread of yarn and floral arrangement their art spoke: It was a silent, but visual plea to keep the station and its depot alive.

“In this area, Baker and Sumner? This is like the pivot point of this area! This is it,” Hathor said. “Why would you tear down the heartbeat of this area?”

Swenson Cooper said she wants Sumner Station to still stand for local ancestors who once rode the trains into town.

“Quite a few people that showed up today told us that this is how they got here, through this [train station],” Swenson Cooper said.

The peaceful protest was also for future generations, who have seen other landmarks in their city saved. That’s why Bakersfield local and The Hub of Bakersfield member, Shannon Labare brought her son with her to the demonstration Sunday.

“He loves the Padre Hotel more than anything,” Labare said. “He loves climbing up those old rickety stairs, going down the elevator. He asks to go to the Padre, and I wanted him to see that he could save an old building like The Padre and continue to revitalize Old Town Kern.”

A petition to save Sumner Station and “revitalize Old Town Kern” can be found here.