Torrington CT: Remove Columbus Monument and Rename Columbus Street/Square/Park

Torrington CT: Remove Columbus Monument and Rename Columbus Street/Square/Park

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Michael Kaneb started this petition to Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone and

The time is past due for us to reconsider traditional narratives about Christopher Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas.

Most of us wouldn’t say that absolutely nothing beneficial came from European colonization. It would be erroneous to assert that there is nothing beautiful about European cultures, or their co-evolution with other cultures through history.

Yet despite whatever good can be said to have come from European colonization, there are many elements of this history we must condemn as morally reprehensible: violent conquests, genocides, ethnocides, slavery, brutality, systemic racism, and cruel imperialism.

Christopher Columbus was Italian. His real name is Cristoforo Colombo. Traditionally Columbus has been an especially important figure for Italian-Americans. In the midst of pervasive anti-Italian racism, Columbus helped give people of Italian heritage validation as cultural descendants of one of America’s greatest icons. To this day, many Italian-Americans and others continue to defend Columbus’ legacy and praise his accomplishments.

Regardless of whatever personal merits he had, the legacy of Christopher Columbus is so tainted by the violent conquests he directed and set precedent for that he has become not an asset but a liability to the prestige of Italian culture. There are hundreds of Italians and Italian-Americans more deserving of our honor and commemoration.

By removing statues and memorials to Christopher Columbus we are not erasing our history. We are facing our history and embracing our history. This is a vital phase in our evolution as Americans. Through symbolic actions, we can show our extended human family that we acknowledge the immense, needless suffering caused by the horrific injustices perpetrated through European colonization, and that we are resolved to take action to fix what is broken in this country.

As we continue to confront legacies of injustice in our history, many communities across America and the world have decided to remove monuments and rename places dedicated to Columbus and other maligned historical figures, and many more are currently considering such measures. It’s time for Torrington to join in this process.

To the elected officials of Torrington, Connecticut: we request that the Columbus monument on East Main Street be removed, and that Columbus Street/Square/Park be renamed. This occasion will be a valuable opportunity for the people of our community to mourn the victims of European colonization and to celebrate our shared commitment to growing a more just and peaceful world.

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