BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Weeks after a Christopher Columbus monument at a Baltimore park was defaced, officials said today — Christopher Columbus Day — that it will be repaired.
But they want resident input first.
In August, a group of vandals targeted the Herring Run Park monument, which is more than 200 years old. A video posted online shows someone using a sledgehammer to smash the base of the structure.
The vandalism came just a week after city officials ordered that four Confederate-era monuments be removed overnight.
Several cities across the U.S. — including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Austin, Texas — have changed “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples Day,” with supporters of that switch saying indigenous people are more worthy of recognition than the historical figure who helped introduce European colonialism to the Americas.
Baltimore Councilman Brandon Scott has been fighting for the removal of Columbus Day for Baltimore calendars.
“Make no day about it. We’ll get rid of Columbus Day,” says Scott.
But Eric Holcomb, Executive Director of the city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), says the Christopher Columbus statue will be re-dedicated. First, however, the city will reach out to the community to get input on how it should be re-dedicated, to whom, when and how to move forward with it.
“The Italian American Civic Club of Maryland would love to see the development of an Indigenous People’s Day, just not on Columbus day,” says Dr. Marc DeSimone.
The Italian American Civic Club of Maryland says while the explorer was no saint, his contributions cannot be denied.
“The same voyage of discovery that led to the slave trade also led to what they call the Colombian exchange of fruits and vegetables and animals,” says Dr. DeSimone.
He says his group believes that everyone should have their message heard and will continue to support their efforts.
If for some reason the Columbus monument is not rededicated at the park, the Italian American Civic Club of Maryland say that they will be fighting every step of the way.
The work on the monument wouldn’t start until spring of 2018 and after community outreach.