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City Begins Discussing What To Do With Christopher Columbus Statue

Columbus City Hall statue outside Columbus City Hall was taken down last summer.
David Holm
Columbus City Hall statue outside Columbus City Hall was taken down last summer.

The Columbus Arts Commission held its first meeting Thursday to decide the fate of the Christopher Columbus statue that once stood outside City Hall.

The city of Columbus removed the statue last summerin response to criticism over the explorer’s racism and centrality in the slavery and genocide of indigenous people.

Fourteen committee members introduced themselves and exchanged opinions on the statue. Valley Dale Ballroom owner Landa Brunetto said most people she interacts with want to see the Columbus statue back at City Hall.

“It’s an overwhelming, ‘Why is it gone?’” Brunetto said. “These are individuals who are Columbus-ites, some are immigrants.”

But Ohio State University global engagement program coordinator Dan Montour said the harm Christopher Columbus did outweighed any good.

“He found some great trade routes and such,” Montour said. “But on a much more important scale, he enslaved thousands and thousands and murdered people in huge numbers.”

Columbus State Community College also removed a statue of the explorer last summer. A third statue of Christopher Columbus still stands at the Ohio Statehouse, and the Capitol Square committee that oversees the grounds has so far declined to remove it.

The committee will meet the second Thursday of each month through August, including May 13, June 10, July 8 and August 12. All of the meetings will be streamed on the city’s YouTube page.

Members of the public who want to submit comments to the committee can do so here.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.