BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The future of the controversial Captain John O’Donnell statue in Canton still remains up in the air.
Now, after months of discussion, community members and leaders are calling on Baltimore’s mayor to step in and remove it.
For nearly 40 years, the statue of the founder of Canton and former slave owner has stood in the center of O’Donnell Square Park.
The Canton Anti-Racism Alliance, with the support of a diverse group of voices, submitted a letter to Mayor Jack Young Thursday, calling for immediate removal of the statue.
“It should come down, but it should be done the right way,” Joseph Montanye, of the Canton Anti-Racism Alliance, said.
In just two weeks, nearly 800 people have signed an online petition calling for the removal of the statue.
“It doesn’t reflect the trajectory we’re on, which is unification,” a Canton resident told WJZ.
The discussion is reaching far beyond just the Canton community. Pikesville resident, Mark Kaufman, said he was drawn to stop by the statue.
“I’m sympathetic to people who are upset about this man’s history,” Kaufman said. “On the other hand, I believe both sides need to be heard.”
Just two weeks ago, WJZ spoke with some residents who said they would like to see the statue stay.
“It’s just always been a part of the park there and I think it’s more effort than it needs to be to worry about taking it down,” one resident said.
As the future of the statue remains up in the air, the Canton Anti-Racism Alliance said it plans to continue focusing on building a community that welcomes all.
“This is by no means the end goal for us, this is just the beginning,” Virgilio Victoriano, of the Canton Anti-Racism Alliance, said.
The Canton Community Association said it’s open to all ideas on what should take place of the O’Donnell Statue if it is taken down.
WJZ has reached out the Mayor’s Office but has yet to hear back.