Petition Calls for Removal of Christopher Columbus Monuments in Philly

For some, Columbus Day is a time to celebrate their culture and heritage, while for others it’s simply a day off from work. Yet there is also a large number of people who don’t believe it’s a holiday worth celebrating at all. That group is speaking out through an online petition demanding that the city of Philadelphia take down a statue and monument honoring Christopher Columbus.

"It’s just beyond imagination that a human being could be so horrific and inhumane toward other people and then be celebrated," said Michael Coard, a local professor and activist.

Coard told NBC10 it’s unacceptable to celebrate Columbus knowing he played a role in wiping out indigenous people. 

"We have this holiday, we have these resolutions, we have streets and monuments," Coard said. "It’s outrageous and must be changed."

The petition is a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter asking that he remove the Columbus obelisk located at the intersection of Columbus Boulevard and Dock Street, as well as a statue of Columbus located at Marconi Plaza at the intersection of Broad Street and Oregon Avenue.

"More and more people inside and outside of the Philadelphia area are recognizing that Christopher Columbus raped, enslaved, murdered and stole from countless indigenous peoples and ruined their lives," the petition says. "We should not be commemorating him or erasing all of what we now know to be historical atrocities with a monument that speaks so highly of him."

While the petition asks Nutter to take action, the Columbus monument is on property owned by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which means the corporation would make any decision.

"Tell Mayor Nutter to contact the respective owners about this, because as a leader he can help Philly do better, and because it matters," the petition says.

Philadelphia’s Columbus Day Parade was once again well attended this year as crowds celebrated their Italian-American roots. Haider Khan, a tourist visiting from Pakistan, told NBC10 he doesn’t believe the statue or monument should be taken down. 

"All these monuments are historical heritage and they should be preserved for the future generations," Khan said.

The petition had over 250 supporters as of 11 p.m. Monday.

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