Residents push to rename Columbus park and take down statue

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Christopher Columbus statue in Buffalo is once again sparking a heated debate.

“He was a slave trader, these are lies that are being told to me and my people,” said Devin Kirkwood, Buffalo resident.

“To keep honoring this butcher, I think is an outrage,” said Dan Tritto, Buffalo resident.

The statue is currently standing in Columbus Park, just off of Columbus Parkway. It’s been there for more than 60 years.

In the past, people have vandalized it. Last year there was a bag over its head with a message that read “Columbus was a rapist.”

“Christopher Columbus is not a person we should be honoring, I don’t think he’s a hero,” said Brandon Absher, Buffalo resident.

“It shouldn’t have been here in the first place. When somebody desecrates it every year, believe me it’s crossed my mind, I applaud whoever does that,” said Tim Cooper, Seneca warrior.

Absher started an online petition which now has more than 600 signatures.

“Protesting that statue and trying to take it down that’s absolutely the right thing to do, we shouldn’t have it here, it doesn’t belong here,” said Absher.

Petitioners say Columbus represents evil, calling him a rapist and murderer. Others say he didn’t discover America pointing to our ancestors and the indigenous people

“People say get over it, we’re never going to get over it,” said Cooper.

The petition recently gained traction after confederate statues toppled nation wide in response to the Charlottesville protests.

If the petition gets more than a thousand signatures, the goal is to take it to our city leaders.

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