Protesters Demand Removal of ‘Oppressor’ Christopher Columbus Statue in Texas

A small group of protesters came out Sunday demanding that San Antonio city officials remove a longstanding statue of Christopher Columbus. They held signs and chanted, asserting that Monday’s federal holiday, which honors the explorer, represents oppression for Native Americans.

“We need to take these statues down because we don’t need to be constantly reminded of our oppressors and the bad history so we need to take these statues down,” said protester Juan Aguirre. He told KSAT that people have protested the statue of Columbus for years and next on they plan to take this matter to the city council to have it removed.

Aguirre added: “It’s time that our people wake up and start fighting back let these people know we aren’t going to take it sitting down anymore, we need to stand up, our people need to stand up and our people need to be acknowledged as a people.”

Another demonstrator asserted: “It’s not about who is right or wrong, it’s about good education…We refuse to be oppressed anymore.”

According to the Christopher Columbus Italian Society, they own the statue, which was made in Italy. On October 12, 1957, the society donated the statue to the City of San Antonio, which owns the land on which the statue resides in Columbus Park.

On Sunday, the society’s president told KSAT the organization would only intervene in the demonstration if protesters defaced the monument.

The Christopher Columbus Italian Society was chartered in San Antonio on May 14, 1890. Members built the San Francisco di Paola Catholic Church in 1926 and opened the first Italian Hall in Texas two years later. In 2013, they unveiled a new monument in Columbus Park, Piazza di Colombo, as part of a Little Italy neighborhood revitalization effort. The church’s mainstay spaghetti and meatball fundraiser dinners, which are held several times throughout the year, date back to the 1930s and benefit a variety of local causes, including local law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT.

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