Officials in California have announced the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus from the Capitol Rotunda, saying it is ‘completely out of place today.
In a joint statement, legislative leaders announced that the Christopher Columbus statue will be removed from the state capitol where it has stood for over a century.
Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Rules Chair Ken Cooley and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a statement: “Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations.”
The joint statement added: “The continued presence of this statue in California’s Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed.”
The announcement comes as flags, statues, historical figures, and racist symbols are being taken down across America as demonstrations continue to end the systematic racism after the death of George Floyd.
Sacramento banker Darius Ogden Mills donated the statue to the state and dedicated it to his brother, a former Capitol commissioner. The figure became synonymous with legislative staff and lobbyists tossing coins into Isabella’s crown even though the tradition was banned a few years ago.
It is not clear when the figure will be removed, where it will go, or whether it will be replaced by a person of color.
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales took to Twitter to accept the news and said children need to learn about ‘real heroes.’ She wrote: “It’s important that children today learn the difference between real heroes and fake ones.”
But a former assemblymember from Sacramento, Roger Niello, slammed the move, writing: “I guess now if we don’t like part of our history we just erase it.”
Some states have renamed Columbus Day ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ to recognize the native populations colonized by the Italian explorer.
Another statue of Christopher Columbus was thrown in a lake in Richmond and beheaded in Boston. A Thomas Jefferson statue outside an Oregon high school was taken down by demonstrators.
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