On June 7th, someone by the name of Gabe Friedman created a petition to rename Columbus Circle. The petition was posted to change.org and was directed towards Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the New York City Council.
The petition on change.org reads:“We hereby petition New York City Council and Mayor DeBlasio to direct that: (1) Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan be renamed and (2) the Columbus statue located there and Columbus statues in any other public areas of the City of New York City be removed from public view.”
FYI: The Christopher Columbus statue was designated a National Landmark in late 2018.
The petition continues:
“In the era of the Black Lives Matter movement, we are rejecting the old ways of life and the antiquated systems put in place by the generations that came before us. We reject police brutality, we reject racism, we reject revisionism, we reject the colonization and slavery of America’s past. Numerous cities and towns around the country are taking action to remove statues and rename parks that honor the history of the Confederacy. As statues dedicated to upholding slavery and white supremacy fall, people in every part of the United States are also calling for the removal of statues of Columbus and the renaming of parks and landmarks named after him.
“It’s time to rename Columbus Circle and take down the statue honoring Columbus. Christopher Columbus was a white colonist who slaughtered thousands of Native Americans on their own soil. Honoring him is honoring those murders. We shouldn’t be memorializing someone who began mass genocide and enslavement in America.
“The Lenape Indians were the tribe that lived mostly in New York State before the arrival of the Dutch in the 1600’s. Seneca Village was a thriving center for African immigrants in New York City before their entire village was destroyed to create a portion of Central Park in 1857.
“We recommend either renaming Columbus Circle after the Lenape Indians or Seneca Village, but ultimately believe the city and its leaders should consult with Native American and Black leaders to decide what is best to move the city forward and remove the stain of white supremacy from our city.”
As of writing, the petition has gotten over 3,300 signatures. Here it is on change.org.
Other opponents of the Columbus Circle statue – not necessarily the name of the neighborhood itself – have recently reiterated their views to the city. In an interview with ABC News, Melissa Iakowi:he’ne’ Oakes, the executive director of the nonprofit American Indian Community House, stated “I think with everything that is going on now … I don’t see why (the city) would have an argument against keeping the Christopher Columbus statue.”