Democrat Mayor Harry Rilling has announced the city of Norwalk, CT will remove the Christopher Columbus statue from public property.
The statue was dedicated to the city in 1940.
Per TheHour, Rilling said the city was in discussions to relocate the statue when the Columbus Memorial Fund, a group that dedicated the statue to the city in 1940 and continues to maintain it to this day, “expressed concerns about the possibility of vandalism or outright destruction.”
“They asked the city to assist with moving the statue and we agreed,” Rilling said. “We felt this was the best outcome.”
The city did not say if the statue would be removed permanently or relocated.
“That’s a decision that rests with the Columbus Memorial Fund, who owns the statue,” said Josh Morgan, the city’s communications manager.
Patch.com reports the Christopher Columbus statue that has stood in front of Norwalk’s Heritage Wall on West Avenue for years will be removed in the near future, according to Mayor Harry Rilling.
When the statue, which was dedicated to the city in 1940, will be removed has not been announced, but it was set to be the focus this weekend of a protest for its removal, writes the Norwalk Hour.
In recent weeks, Christopher Columbus statues around the country have been defaced, toppled or otherwise removed due to protests over the famous explorer’s role in discovering the Americas, at the expense of the hemisphere’s indigenous people.
Rilling said that the decision to take down the statue came following discussions with the Columbus Memorial Fund, which harbored concerns over its future.
“While discussions were ongoing about the future and location of the statue, the Columbus Memorial Fund, who maintains the statue, reached out to me and expressed concerns about the possibility of vandalism or outright destruction,” Rilling said in a statement to Patch. “They asked the city to assist with moving the statue and we agreed. We felt this was the best outcome.”
Earlier this month, Connecticut Youth Activists started a petition on Change.org to have the statue removed; as of Thursday more than 285 people had signed the petition toward a goal of 500 signatures. The group planned to deliver the petition to the mayor and Common Council upon completion.
“What this statue represents to our community as well as many other colonial monuments is violence, racism, marginalization, and the continued denial of the genocide of indigenous people,” the petition states.