Topic

Christopher Columbus

26 petitions

Update posted 10 months ago

Petition to Jorge Elorza Mayor of Providence

Relocate the Columbus Statue in Providence Rhode Island and Rename Columbus Square

***On 10/14/2019 The Columbus statue in Providence had red paint thrown on it in protest for the second time now since 2017. A sign was placed at it's base stating "Stop Celebrating Genocide". This petition is a demand to relocate the statue where it can be viewed in the context of the full history and atrocities committed by Columbus. Some, not all of Rhose Island's Italian Americans have requested the statue be moved to Historic Federal Hill. This is not an appropriate location for the statue, as it would be displayed in a celebratory manner rather than a historic one that respects our indigenous communities.*** The Columbus Statue on Elmwood Avenue in Providence Rhode Island is steeped in history of it's own. The Statue itself was comissioned by the Gorham Manufacturing Company. A silverware company that was founded in providence in 1831. The commission for a Columbus statue made of silver was given to famed sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi most well known for the Statue of Liberty. The Statue was created to be displayed at the 1893 World's Fair: Columbian Exposition in Chicago Illinois in commemoration of Columbus finding himself in America 400 years before. It was meant to showcase the silver crafting skills of the Gorham Manufacturing Company as well as celebrate industrialism in America with a dazzling display of American ingenuity. The silver statue was never meant to be a permanent display, and after the event, it was melted down, and a bronze caste was donated to the City of Providence. It was placed on the corner of Elmwood and Reservoir in Providence and the patch of grass renamed Columbus Square. In 2001 the Statue and the Square became a historical site. Italian Americans have a long history in America since Columbus found himself here in an attempt to sail to India. From the naming of America itself, to industrialization to the revolutionary war, and each war since. Italian Americans have fought and contributed. The Statue of Liberty in New York welcomed Italian immigrants in search of a better life. And many Italians settled in Rhode Island. So much so, that Rhode Island boasts the highest percentage of Italian Americans of all 50 states. For many Italians, Columbus was a point of pride, a mirror on their own immigrant journey, and a tie to an unknown land, where they were treated as less than. And to many current day Italian Americans, Columbus is wrapped in their sense of identity, and understanding of their family legacies and place in the world.  That however, is a small part of the story of Columbus, told by only one people. The full history and story of Columbus deserves to be told. And we should not pick and choose the parts of history that personally make us feel good and ignore what doesn't. That is hiding history. That is being disingenuous.  When Christopher Columbus sailed he kept journals of his activities. Bartolome de las Casas, a young priest who sailed with him, did as well. They chronicled, in detail the atrocities Columbus committed. The mass torture, rape and genocide that was done to the people Columbus came in contact with. The cruelty was so great, that indigenous people started feeding their babies poison, and committing mass suicide as it would be better than being captured by Columbus and his men.  In recent years, as we relearn the bloody, genocidal history of Columbus, it is no longer appropriate for us to display this Statue like a hero home from war. This petition, demands that it be relocated to a place that will better contextualize Christopher Columbus in the full history of his deeds and his atrocities. To celebrate him is to hide history. We can not prioritize the emotional experience of Italian Americans over the emotional experience of Indigenous people in good faith. The Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island has only been federally recognized since  1983, despite living on this land for thousands of years prior to Columbus finding himself in America. If we have respect for the original inhabitants of this land, if we have respect for history, we will not hide it. We will not continue to ignore the parts that are uncomfortable. You can not say that history is important if you refuse to acknowledge it. This petition is a cry for us to be on the right side of history. In the tradition and spirit of Roger Williams, the founder of Providence Plantations which would become the colony of Rhode Island, we must be leaders in our respect for and  friendship with indigenous people. We can be proud of our identity as a State that leads the country in doing what is right. We can make new history in declaring our friendship and solidarity with the Narragansett People. Sign this petition if you agree. We ask that this petition be made to Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza. And that he address this matter immediately. What must be done is clear. Keeping the statue where it is, is to deny history, and deny friendship to the Narragansett Tribe. We can not continue be so afraid of offending those who cling to comfortable half-truths. History will not be kind to us if we do.   

Joseph Gizzarelli
2,757 supporters
Update posted 1 year ago

Petition to Waterbury Board of Aldermen, Waterbury City Hall, Neil O'Leary

Remove Columbus Statue From Infront of Waterbury City Hall

This petition calls for the removal of the Christopher Columbus Statue from in front of Waterbury, CT City Hall. Christopher Columbus represents the glorification of colonization. He is a figure that represents the brutal genocide, slavery, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples. Waterbury has changed time and time again over history evolving into a multicultural representation of America. It is important to recognize the symbol of white superiority Christopher Columbus is both globally and in these United States. By leaving the statue up the city denies the role people of color, especially Indigenous peoples, have played in preserving and nurturing the Greater Waterbury region. The statue evokes unpleasant feelings for those who understand the horrors of colonialism.  This petition calls for the statue to be moved off the front of City Hall This petition calls for the statue to be moved to a museum. It acknowledges the value of the time capsule and the rich history of Italian Americans. This petition calls for city events and education to promote an accurate recollection of history during the national Christopher Columbus Holiday This petition calls for the city to recognize Indigenous Peoples day This petition calls for local artwork, statues, signs in acknowledgment of historically relevant local leaders. (Esp. minority leaders and women who are underacknowledged) This petition calls for an open forum with city residents to discuss the issues surrounding this controversy with politicians. Photo Credit Link: https://statues.vanderkrogt.net/object.php?record=usct17

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2,537 supporters