ST. PAUL, Minn. – More than 2,000 signatures have been gathered by a group of Minnesotans petitioning that the statue of Christopher Columbus at the State Capitol be removed and replaced with a statue of the musician Prince.
The petition on organizefor.org is currently targeting 3,000 signatures, and has collected over 2,200 as of Tuesday morning.
“Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners, and those who threatened the livelihood of Black people,” reads the petition. “Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved Black and Native peoples in the Americas.”
In addition to placing a statue of Prince in place of the Columbus statue, the petition calls for another statue to be selected for placement in accordance with the wishes of minority communities in the state.
“Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish Black and Native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational.We, the undersigned, up submit that the Governor Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature replace the statue of Columbus with statues representative of Minnesota’s Black and Native communities,” continues the petition.
The petition was started by Wintana Melekin, who KMSP reports was also the organizer of a petition which inspired Gov. Mark Dayton to declare “Beyoncé Day” in Minnesota upon the pop singer’s appearance for a concert on May 23, 2016.
Alpha News previously reported that an article published by the Huffington Post called for the removal of the State Capitol’s statue of Columbus. The plaque on the statue has previously been edited to reflect more modern sensibilities, but there are currently no plans for the statue’s removal entirely.
In Baltimore, a statue of Columbus was vandalized, severely damaging the statue’s base, reported the Baltimore Sun. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that a commission he has appointed to recommend the removal of “hateful” monuments on city property is considering statues of Columbus among other targets, reported the New York Post.