Two statues of Christopher Columbus in Chicago parks were removed Friday following demonstrations and attempts to pull down one of the monuments.
The office of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced July 24 that the city had “temporarily removed the Christopher Columbus statues in Grant Park and Arrigo Park until further notice. This action was taken after consultation with various stakeholders. It comes in response to demonstrations that became unsafe for both protesters and police, as well as efforts by individuals to independently pull the Grant Park statue down in an extremely dangerous manner.”
It said the move “is about an effort to protect public safety and to preserve a safe space for an inclusive and democratic public dialogue about our city’s symbols. In addition, our public safety resources must be concentrated where they are most needed throughout the city, and particularly in our South and West Side communities.”
The city will be assessing each of its “monuments, memorials, and murals” and will “develop a framework for creating a public dialogue to determine how we elevate our city’s history and diversity.”
The mayor’s office emphasized that “this is not about a single statue or mural, but how we create a platform to channel our city’s dynamic civic energy to collaboratively, purposefully and peacefully reflect our values as Chicagoans and uplift the stories of all of our diverse city’s residents, particularly when it comes to the permanent memorialization of our shared heritage.”
The statues were removed in the early morning, between 3:00 and 5:30 am, the AP reported.
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