NOT LONG BEFORE THE ALWAYS CONTROVERSIAL COLUMBUS DAY PROTESTS, A PETITION IS BEING CIRCULATED ONLINT TO PRESENT TO CITY COUNCIL SAYING THE STATUE IS RACIST – By Jenny Paulson- A petition started circulating online this week, asking people to sign their support for the removal the Christopher Columbus statute in front of the Rawlings Library. After signatures are collected, it will be presented to Pueblo City Council.
Kelly Casias, formerly of Pueblo, who now lives in Denver, started the petition at a Move On website asking others to join her in the request to have the statute from city owned property, saying “It is today as it has always been, offensive, oppressive and a constant reminder to Pueblo people of color and Natives of the genocide it represents.”
Every year on Columbus Day, protesters have gathered around the Pueblo statue to protest as Italian immigrants celebrate. This year the Sons of Italy, will celebrate their 112th annual celebration at the monument and activists will protest for their 25th year. The protests have always been heated, but this year petitioners are preparing in advance with those who want to abolish the statue and Columbus Day itself. They believe Columbus was a racist and a murderer of the Native people.
Over 100 protestors typically attend the heated event, where some have been arrested in previous years. They come from all over the state and other states to Pueblo. Rita Martinez, with the Abolish Columbus Day Committee, has been a vocal advocate of abolishing the event in Pueblo and says that Columbus brought slave trading, murder and genocide to her people, and that he shouldn’t be celebrated. She says her committee wants to abolish Columbus day in the city, state and country.
Mary Jo Mauro of Pueblo signed the new online petition and shared it on facebook saying, “To my Italian friends & family, please know that I’m not against my Italian heritage, I’m a loving grandchild of Italian immigrants who settled in Southern Colorado & became very successful business owners in Colorado & New Mexico. I truly love Italian artists such as Michaelangelo, Botticelli, & DaVinci, to name a few, and as a native born Puebloan, I have always felt terrible that we in this diverse city pay homage to a man who ravaged so many innocent souls on his path of genocide.”
She continued, “Native Americans and others protest this outrage annually on Columbus Day. I have stood with them, even though I’m part Italian. I wholeheartedly wish that instead of Columbus, we honor someone like Leonardo DaVinci, who actually did amazing good for generations of humans. Please remove & replace the Columbus statue in Pueblo, Colorado. It is a symbol of oppression, struggle and death. Let’s replace it with an Italian who did great things for the world, not a murderer of innocents on his path of ‘discovering America’ that was actually ‘discovered’ long before he set foot here. Thank you for your consideration”
Here are some of the other comments on the petition website:
“We should not honor a genocidal rapist and murderer,” Denise Torrez of Pueblo
“I agree, let’s uplift and celebrate an artist instead of a conquistador who killed a lot of people,” Kathy Sahagian
“Descended not only from Italians but also the grandson of the man most responsible for the statue being there,” Randall Martella
“Please remove the state of columbus in front of the library. It is an affront to our citizens!” Delores Frank
“The statue creeps me out every time I go to the Mesa Junction,” Janet Switzer
“Christopher Columbus owns no place in history books. Natives were home on their own homeland. Tell the Truth!” Ione Betone
“I think it’s time that kids are taught that there are MANY people (native americans and spaniards in particular) LIVING in this country before Christopher Columbus arrived. The Vikings also “discovered” North America long before Columbus. Let’s teach people the true history of Columbus and the “New World” instead of the mistaken assumption that Columbus discovered America,” Heather Harris
“No matter where we are today, home, and what occurs there, still a matter for all people,” William Charles
“He never made history being a theif, he found the part by accidents and we Indians were here before them,” Edward Casias
“We’ve been silent long enough,” S BraidedHair-Begaye
“Racism in any form is still racism,” Charles E Wells
“The symbolism of Christopher Columbus showcased on native land (territory) is offensive of the Native American People and we must remember the Natives and their culture more than the person who raped, pillaged and murdered their people,” Joe Mestas
The petition is available for signing and review at at https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/remove-that-statue.fb47?source=s.fb&r_by=18707404 – and petitioners say they are over half way until their goal before it will be presented to Council.
Here are links to a videos of anti-Columbus Day demonstration in Pueblo in 2012 posted by Jared and Inge Burbank in previous years:
Jenny Paulson is the publisher of www.SouthernColoradoIndependent.com an alternative online thought provoking publication serving Pueblo and the surrounding area.