BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City Council is considering rededicating a statue of Christopher Columbus to memorialize the victims of police brutality.
The legislation was proposed by Councilman Ryan Dorsey amid a national reckoning when it comes to issues of race. Over the weekend, a statue at Druid Hill Park of George Washington, the nation’s first president and a slave owner, was vandalized with red paint.READ MORE: Frederick County Man Joshua Eckenrode Indicted By Grand Jury For Murder Of Curtis Mason Smith
Dorsey’s legislation would rename the Columbus Obelisk Monument in Heinz Park to the Police Violence Victims Monument. It would take effect 30 days after it’s passed.
Baltimore activists demanded the city’s Confederate statues be removed in 2017 following the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Four of them were taken down.
“Where else but in the United States do you take and put monuments of people that you consider as traitors?” Baltimore resident Cornell Smith said, calling the statues’ removal a “long-awaited movement.”
“… I feel all the statues that represent these people should be taken down,” he added.
While the statues themselves have been taken down, the pedestals remain. Some want to see them rededicated to others.
“Harriett Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, the white people who lost their lives during the sit-ins in Alabama,” Smith suggested.READ MORE: ROCA Program Offers Baltimore's Young Men With Tough Pasts Build Better Futures, Jobs
“Black or white folks who helped ‘the cause,’ you know, they were for equal rights, you know, Negroes being treated the same as white people,” Baltimore resident Lynnea said.
She stressed that while taking down the monuments would be “nice,” it’s still a part of the city’s history that needs to be reckoned with.
“Let’s not forget that this happened. This was a part of our past. Let’s acknowledge that, learn from it, and move on,” she said.
Tawanda Jones, whose brother was killed by police in 2013, agreed.
“They can take all the monuments down. That hate is going to remain in their hearts. They need to change how they view us,” she said.
“America is supposed to be the home of the free, but the people representing–on these pedestals, who are supposed to be representing America, were not for freedom for all people,” Marah O’Neal, whose childrens’ father was killed by police last year, said.
In a statement, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks urged people to work with them and city leaders on a resolution instead of defacing monuments:MORE NEWS: 17-Year-Old Malakai Tyrelle Cooke Killed Shooting At Frederick Country Inn & Suites
“While we take our role in maintaining the parks and park assets seriously, we are not solely responsible for the placement or removal of park monuments. We encourage residents who find the monuments non-reflective of their community’s beliefs and values to work together with our agency, the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), the Office of the Mayor and Baltimore City Council on a resolution.”