Petition Calls to Replace Columbus Statue With One Of...Prince

ashley.rae | September 5, 2017
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While most of the ire against “white supremacy” in the wake of Charlottesville has been geared towards Confederate statues, Christopher Columbus hasn’t been spared in the frenzy. In a feat of mass democracy, petitions have been springing up to replace Confederate monuments across the country with pop icons like Britney Spears and Missy Elliott—and there is also petition to replace a statue of Christopher Columbus with one of the deceased music artist Prince.

A petition on the “organize for” website asks to replace the statue of Columbus in front of the Minnesota Capitol building with one of Prince, who happens to be a Minnesota native.

The petition, which as of Tuesday morning had over 4,000 signatures, states a statue of Prince would be better representative of the “values Minnesotans carry.”

“Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish Black and Native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational,” the petition reads. “We, the undersigned, up submit that the Governor Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature replace the statue of Columbus with statues representative of Minnesota’s Black and Native communities.”

One of the top reasons for signing the petition reads, “Did Christopher Columbus drop a 13x platinum album? No. No he did not.” Another says, “Columbus didn't even actually discover America, and when he got here, he raped and pillaged an entire group of people. Prince brought people together.”

The petition has received supportive coverage on Complex, BET, and various other news sources. BET called the effort one of the “many calls by the people to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners and those who threatened the livelihood of Black people.”

Wintana Melekin, who is behind the petition, told Watch the Yard that currently, the Capitol “does not feel inviting or inclusive to communities of color.”

“I spend a lot of time at our State Capitol,” Melekin said. “It’s a space that already does not feel inviting or inclusive to communities of color. To see Columbus every day in front of the building does not make it feel more welcoming. So, I put the petition together because I wanted to see someone, Prince, at the capitol because he represents a part of Minnesota that we are all proud of.”

Melekin is reportedly famous for helping create Minnesota’s “Beyonce Day.”

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