UPDATE: Wisconsin city to remove Christopher Columbus statue following 4-1 vote

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Photo courtesy WISC

WEDNESDAY 7/8/2020 6:28 a.m.

COLUMBUS, Wis. (WISC) – A Wisconsin common council has voted to remove its Christopher Columbus statue.

Affiliate WISC reports the City of Columbus’ council voted Tuesday evening following a petition started by Abbi Adams, a senior at Columbus High School to remove the namesake statue. Adams told WISC that she didn’t believe Christopher Columbus should represent her city and wanted historical context paired with the statue, which was a sentiment echoed by others speaking at Tuesday’s council meeting.

A number of community members at the meeting spoke out against moving the statue, saying it revises and threatens history, according to WISC.

Columbus Mayor Michael Thom said this is one of the city’s most contentious issues he can remember in recent years, and alders said they’ve received plenty of feedback, with both sides of the issue represented fairly equally. Alders discussed the option for a citywide referendum but decided against it.

Common council members voted to remove the statue in a four to one vote. While the statue sits on state-owned land, the city owns the statue itself and will have to decide what to do with it. The local Knights of Columbus chapter has expressed interest in being its caretaker in the meantime.

This comes on the heels of numerous other U.S. cities facing similar decisions. On July 1, crews in Columbus, Ohio, removed a statue of Columbus from city hall.

In late June, protesters in Madison tore down two statues following the arrest of a Black man who shouted at restaurant customers through a megaphone while carrying a baseball bat. One of the statues was of Civil War Col. Hans Christian Heg, which was toppled, decapitated and dragged into a lake. He was an anti-slavery activist and leader of an anti-slave catcher militia in Wisconsin who fought for the Union and died from injuries suffered during the Battle of Chickamauga. The other statue taken down represents Wisconsin’s motto “Forward.”

President Donald Trump announced on June 23 that he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.”

For more on the Columbus City Council’s decision to vote on the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue, click here.

Original Story: Wisconsin city council to vote on removing Columbus statue

THURSDAY 7/2/2020 6:17 a.m.

COLUMBUS, Wis (AP) — A Wisconsin city that is named after Christopher Columbus will vote on whether to remove a statue of its namesake at a time when monuments honoring controversial white figures are being criticized following protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

WISC-TV reported Tuesday that Columbus alders will decide the statue’s fate at Tuesday’s council meeting. The decision follows a petition started by Abbi Adams, a senior at Columbus High School, to remove the statue.

During the meeting, Adams said what Christopher Columbus symbolizes shouldn’t represent her city. But some want to keep the statue to preserve its history.

On July 1, crews in Columbus, Ohio, removed a statue of Columbus from city hall.

In late June, protesters in Madison tore down two statues following the arrest of a Black man who shouted at restaurant customers through a megaphone while carrying a baseball bat. One of the statues was of Civil War Col. Hans Christian Heg, which was toppled, decapitated and dragged into a lake. He was an anti-slavery activist and leader of an anti-slave catcher militia in Wisconsin who fought for the Union and died from injuries suffered during the Battle of Chickamauga. The other statue taken down represents Wisconsin’s motto “Forward.”

President Donald Trump announced on June 23 that he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.”

For more on the Columbus City Council’s decision to vote on the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue, click here.

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