Chicago mayor against removing Christopher Columbus statues
On Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that the statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park should not be torn down in response to the death of George Floyd. The statue was reportedly spray-painted with the Black Lives Matter abbreviation, “BLM,” along with the word, genocide.
Lightfoot says removing the Columbus statue and other controversial symbols are an erasure of history. She claimed it does a disservice to the countries youth who need to learn from the past.
“I think that the way we educate our young people, in particular, about their history is to educate them about the full history,” she said. “We should not try to erase history, but should embrace it full-on.”
The mayor is also against changing the city’s observance of Columbus Day or renaming it Indigenous People’s Day. She praised the organizers of the annual Columbus Day Parade and applauded them for inviting groups of all backgrounds to participate.
“The thing that we need to do is do what I think the organizers of the Columbus Day Parade have done, which is invite many people of different backgrounds, different perspectives to participate in what is really a people’s celebration,” she explained. “And I think we need to spur that kind of unifying and healing dialogue and not separate and divide people.”
Lightfoot’s comments are far different than many Democrat leaders across the country. Several historical statues have been removed from major cities this week.
California plans to remove the statue of Columbus in the state’s Capitol building, which has been there since 1883, saying Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure.
“Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations,” California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said. “The continued presence of this statue in California’s Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed.”
In the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently removed portraits of past speakers who severed in the Confederacy. Her attempt to remove 11 statues from the building was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate yesterday.
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