Crews removed a statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella Tuesday, which has occupied a prominent position inside the California state Capitol rotunda but has also triggered protests during a time when several historical figures are being scrutinized for their roles in the exploitation of communities of color.
It comes on the heels of a weekend protest where demonstrators tore down a statue of Catholic missionary Junipero Serra on the east side of the state Capitol grounds. That demonstration was originally organized with the goal of demanding the removal of the Columbus statue.
Last month a statue of John Sutter was removed by Sutter Health near the organization’s Midtown Sacramento campus.
KCRA 3 News reports crews started building a ramp early Tuesday morning to move the large statuary group titled “Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella.”
The statue has been on the first floor of the Capitol rotunda since 1883. Edgar Mills, brother of donor Darius Ogden Mills, said at the statue dedication ceremony that “California, more than any other state in the American Union, fulfills [Columbus’] visions of marvelous lands beyond the setting sun.”
Elementary schools have long taught lessons about the 15th-century Italian colonizer. More recently, critics have pointed out Columbus’ violent treatment of indigenous people and the forced conversion of these communities to Christianity.
Dr. Vanessa Esquivido, a Native scholar and visiting professor at California State University Chico, was at the Capitol Tuesday to see the statue removed. She said the removal was a “beautiful moment,” and a step toward changing how the legacy of Columbus and other colonizers is taught….
The Statewide Coalition Against Racist Symbols and other groups have been holding events to “de-Sutter, de-Serra and de-Columbus Sacramento” in recent weeks. Morning Star Gali, a Pit River Tribe member working with the coalition, said Monday that the Columbus statue has been a point of frustration….
Democratic leaders Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assembly Rules Committee Chair Ken Cooley announced the statue would be removed last month….
The above comes from a July 7 story on Capradio.