Change Name of Columbus Park, Remove Statue
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All across the country, cities are taking steps to remove monuments and change the name of parks and other public facilities that celebrate the brutal slave-holding legacy of the Confederacy and its most prominent figures. These communities have recognized that honoring the Confederacy serves to cover up the moral outrages of slavery and dismiss the voices of African-Americans whose ancestors were held in bondage, systematically kidnapped, beaten, and sexually assaulted.
Similarly, we call for the City of Buffalo to change the name of Columbus Park and to remove the monument that now stands there in honor of Christopher Columbus. Columbus did not "discover" anything - the Americas were inhabited by a great diversity of people and cultures. Instead, Columbus established the beachhead for ruthless conquest and settler colonialism and inaugurated the genocidal devastation of whole continents. Many millions of people lived in the Western Hemisphere before the arrival of Columbus, untold numbers of them killed by disease. But disease was not the only, nor the cruelest, of the demons that arrived with Columbus.
Bartolome de las Casas, who began as an enslaver of the native Taino people of Hispaniola, whom Columbus had "discovered," wrote of, "...the massacre of these wretches, whom they have so inhumanely and barbarously butcher'd and harrass'd with several kinds of torments, never before known, or heard... of three millions of persons, which lived in Hispaniola itself, there is at present but the inconsiderable remnant of scarce three hundred." Columbus personally launched the enslavement and genocide of Native people and the colonization of the Hemisphere which would be his legacy.
We demand that the name of Columbus Park be changed! We demand that the statue of Columbus be removed! We demand that you consult Native communities in renaming the park!
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