Christopher Columbus statue in downtown among landmarks being reviewed by city-parish commission
BATON ROUGE - The Christopher Columbus statue on the corner where Government Street meets the river was donated by the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association in 1992 to then-Mayor Tom Ed McHugh.
It's stood there for nearly three decades, but it could soon come down.
The fate of the statue will be a topic of discussion for the mayor-president's commission on race equity and inclusion, set to meet this month.
The commission will look into renaming or removing potentially offensive or oppressive government entities like street and building names or statues.
"He introduced sickness to the land, genocide to the land, slavery, and he even raped and mutilated a lot of the people that were already here. And this statue here makes it seem as if we are complacent with slavery and racist antics that happened in the south, and we are not complacent with it at all," Breyonna Grant said.
In the meantime, Breyonna Grant and Camren Linson started a petition addressed to the city council and governor calling for the removal of the statue as soon as possible. It now has more than 1,200 signatures.
"We're asking for 10,000 or 5,000, and after that, we will march to the state capitol to demand justice," Linson said.
Though the city-parish doesn't own the statue, the fountain it sits in is city property. So the statue could at least be moved elsewhere with a vote.
Grant and Linson say they are not interested in destroying the statue and would be happy if the city removed it from public view.
"It is imperative that as the state of Louisiana we set an example and remove all monuments that represent racial inequality, injustice in America and also white supremacy," Linson said.
Click here to view Grant and Linson's petition.
The mayor's commission will meet for the first time in the next two weeks and plans to continue to meet bi-monthly after that.
Calls to the GBRAIA were unanswered.