The City of Columbus took down a Christopher Columbus statue from in front of City of Hall on Wednesday, removing what Mayor Andrew Ginther called a symbol of “patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness.”
Ginther announced the decision to remove the statue on June 18.
"That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past,” Ginther said. “Now is the right time to replace this statue with artwork that demonstrates our enduring fight to end racism and celebrate the themes of diversity and inclusion.”
The statue, which was a gift from the people of Genoa, Italy, in 1955, will be placed in safekeeping at a secure city facility. The city asked the Columbus Art Commission to launch a community-driven process that embraces diversity. This process would determine how to best replace the statue while evaluating other monuments and art installations on their diversity and inclusiveness.
The Arts Commission will also help determine the final disposition for the statue, working with the community to determine, in the proper context, if it should be displayed elsewhere to help future generations understand the ongoing conversations about racism and why leaders ultimately decided on its removal.
“By replacing the statue, we are removing one more barrier to meaningful and lasting change to end systemic racism,” said Ginther. “Its removal will allow us to remain focused on critical police reforms and increasing equity in housing, health outcomes, education and employment.”
This story originally reported by Kaylyn Hlavaty on news5cleveland.com.