The pop world lost Prince last April, and ever since, fans have showered the Purple One with tributes big and small. One Minnesotan wants to put the late musician up on a pedestal—permanently.
Community organizer Wintana Melekin, who is the civic and political engagement director at Minnesota nonprofit Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, launched an online petition, lobbying Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and the state legislature to have a statue of Christopher Columbus replaced by Prince. (This is likely the statue in question.)
On the petition page, Melekin writes: “Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners, and those who threatened the livelihood of black people. Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped, and enslaved black and native peoples in the Americas.” She continues: “Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish black and native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational.”
So far, 3,745 people have signed the petition out of 4,000—though it’s unclear whether that number would move the legislative needle or enact any change (on the OrganizeFor website, the digital petition platform Melekin used, it’s also unclear what exactly 4,000 signatures would accomplish).
Petitioners can leave comments after signing, and one left the following zinger: “Did Christopher Columbus drop a 13x platinum album? No. No he did not.”
In the wake of the deadly Charlottesville protest, there has been an increased call across the nation to take down statues of figures deemed offensive or racist in a historical context. Confederate statues were removed in New Orleans and at the University of Texas and Duke University, while another was toppled by protestors in Durham, North Carolina.
This Christopher Columbus petition follows a similar situation in Los Angeles, in which the city council last week announced it would be nixing Columbus Day and renaming it Indigenous Peoples Day.
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