Petition to remove statue and change name of Columbus Park

Posted at 11:02 AM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 18:36:40-04

More than 700 people signed a change.org petition to remove the Christopher Columbus statue from, and change the name of, Columbus Park in the city of Buffalo.

The petition draws upon similar protests across the country to remove public statues of Confederate figures and points to Christopher Columbus as another historical figure whose legacy should not be honored.

"Columbus did not "discover" anything - the Americas were inhabited by a great diversity of people and cultures," the petition reads. "Instead, Columbus established the beachhead for ruthless conquest and settler colonialism and inaugurated the genocidal devastation of whole continents."

The petition will be delivered to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and, in addition to the park statue and name, calls for the city to consult with Native communities when renaming the park.

7 Eyewitness News reached out to Brandon Absher, the petition's author, who said Columbus is not a historical figure worthy of admiration.

"I would only ask that they try to empathize with the many people who see the statue as a symbol of colonialism and dispossession and as celebrating some of the most horrific aspects of our history," Absher said in an email. "I am in favor of public monuments that laud great accomplishments and honor people who deserve our admiration and set a good example for the community to follow. But I oppose monuments to people who enslaved and murdered - that is not a legacy to warrant admiration."