San Jose Council Votes to Remove Christopher Columbus Statue

Morgan Gstalter, The Hill, January 31, 2018

The city council of San Jose, Calif., voted Tuesday to remove a statute of Christopher Columbus from the lobby of its city hall.

The council is giving the area’s Italian-American community six weeks to relocate the statue, The Mercury News reported. If they haven’t done so by then, it will be placed in storage.

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The Brown Berets, a pro-Chicano group, helped lead a push to have the statue removed from public land, calling it “a symbol of genocide” that glorified European colonialism and violence against Native Americans after Columbus’s 1492 voyage to America.

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The statute of the navigator had been vandalized twice. A man once reportedly smashed the statue’s face with a sledgehammer while shouting “murderer” and “genocide.”

Columbus statues in other major U.S. cities have been defaced in recent months amid a national debate last fall about removing Confederate monuments. A similar statue in New York was beheaded.

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Last week, in an effort to recognize “historic discrimination and violence” against Native Americans, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

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