Buffalo considers removing Columbus statue, renaming park

Posted at 8:07 PM, Oct 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 20:10:15-04

Buffalo lawmakers will consider a petition asking them to remove a controversial statue and change the name of a park on the city's West side.

According to the meeting agenda, the Buffalo Common Council Legislation Committee is set to consider a request from Brandon Absher and the Buffalo Anti-Racism Coalition Tuesday. Absher sent a letter to the Common Council asking lawmakers to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus from Columbus Park on Niagara Street and rename the park.

In his letter, Absher said Columbus "established the beachhead for ruthless conquest and settler colonialism and inaugurated the genocidal devastation of whole continents."

Absher started a Change.org petition calling for the statue's removal and renaming of the park, and it has secured more than 1,600 signatures. 

Absher and the signatories of the Change.org petition cite the recent debate over Confederate-era monuments and whether those monuments disrespect African-Americans and celebrate the legacy of slavery in the United States. They say the Columbus statue similarly disrespects Native American communities.

The statue in question has been the target of several acts of anti-Columbus vandalism. Just this past August, someone covered the statue with red paint. Last Columbus day, someone put a black garbage bag over the statue's head and wrote "Columbus was a slaver and a rapist" in chalk on the sidewalk underneath it.