Renewed push to remove Columbus Statue in Buffalo

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Photo credit Columbus Statue vandalized at Columbus Park. October 8, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – There is a renewed push to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus on Porter Avenue in Buffalo in the wake of unrest locally and nationally.

A petition was created on Thursday night calling for the statue to be removed in Buffalo. Our requests for comment from the petition organizer have not been returned.

“By keeping this statue in place, we are signaling that Buffalo stands by Columbus’ actions, which also include sex trading young indigenous girls, took people from their homelands, and forced them into slavery, and was an overall terribly cruel man,” the petition reads.

Across the country, other statues of Columbus have been toppled, defaced, and damaged. In Virginia, protesters tore down the statue. It was beheaded in Boston.

“We’re opposed to any removal of the Columbus statue,” Don Alessi of the Federation of Italian-American Societies of Western New York, said. “That statue represents the presence and the prominence of the Italian American in this country. To lose it would be an insult to all Italian American persons and we can’t let that happen.”

The statue of Christopher Columbus was defaced on multiple different occasions around Columbus Day in recent years. There has been past efforts to remove the statue by the public, though the efforts to do it through the city council has repeatedly failed.

There are counter-petitions that are calling for vandalism of the Columbus statue to be considered a hate crime.

“The Italian American community, as most people know, is very strong in Western New York. Look at the successes of all businesses and other political office holders…Our prominence is very important.”