BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City Council on Monday considered two bills that would remove the name of Christopher Columbus from an annual holiday and a city monument.
The debate comes two-and-a-half months after protesters tore down a statue of Columbus in Little Italy, throwing it into the Inner Harbor. That statue was recovered.
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The goal of the renaming is “to give honor to all the indigenous peoples who were enslaved,” Jennifer Foylan with Indigenous Strong said.
John Pica asked why the community couldn’t celebrate both holidays on the same day, an idea Foylan opposed.
“We’re not sharing the day,” she said.
Another bill would rename the obelisk in northeast Baltimore known as the Columbus Monument to the Police Violence Victims’ Monument.
“We do believe (the) time has come to be on the right side of history,” Councilman John Bullock said.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison voiced concern about the bill, saying in a statement that “having the proposed monument be in such close proximity to a police memorial honoring officers who have died in the line of duty diminishes the sacrifices made by those officers and does a disservice to them and their families.”
Councilman Leon Pinkett asked whether the city should build a new monument rather than renaming the existing one.
“To the victims of police violence, give them a monument that’s truly theirs,” he said.
That bill passed a second reading 10-4 and will have a third and final reading in October.