COLUMBUS—Ohio State Representative Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) issued a statement today concerning the Christopher Columbus statue that stands on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse. According to news reports, the statue at the statehouse will soon be the only one left standing in the City of Columbus. Removal of the other two, at City Hall and on the campus of Columbus State Community College, have recently been announced.
Today, Rep. Boyd called on the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) Chair Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and Executive Director Laura Battocletti to consider calling a special meeting soon to discuss the possible removal of the statue. Currently, the CSRAB Board is not scheduled to meet until July 16. Rep. Boyd, a member of the CSRAB board, believes this discussion cannot wait.
“There is a long overdue racial reckoning occurring all over the country as Americans are finally beginning to acknowledge the sins of the past. Removal of this statue is not erasing history, but rather choosing not to celebrate and idolize those who do not deserve the public’s admiration. Christopher Columbus should never have been heralded as a hero and put up on a pedestal,” said Rep. Boyd. “This statue on the statehouse grounds represents a dark legacy of slavery, oppression, exploitation and genocide. To people of color, it is a history still affecting our everyday lives as racism continues to pervade this country.”
“Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.’ Similarly, commemorating and representing those who led our nation as oppressors, can only finally end when the descendants of the oppressed along with the allies whose eyes are now wide open, demand that it ends.
The removal of the Christopher Columbus statue, like that of other painful reminders of slavery and ethnic genocide is a powerful and necessary illustration of this moment in history. The moment we pull up injustice by its root and replace it with the seeds of justice for all. Finally.”
Christopher Columbus has long been viewed as a controversial historical figure for his treatment of indigenous communities. In recent years, many cities and states have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in recognition of the pain and terror caused by Columbus and other European explorers.