George Floyd’s gruesome death at the hands of the Minneapolis police department has sparked a nationwide awakening on the subject of racial inequality, and has prompted a hearty reexamination of the way that this nation celebrates its history.
You see, for many Americans, it is difficult to espouse the “all men are created equal” ideology while celebrating or memorializing those who did not also feel this way. The Confederacy of the Civil War was one of the first targets of this racial reckoning, but it didn’t stop there. Soon, protesters and activists turned their ire toward the explorer Christopher Columbus, whom our nation had long considered an important historical figure on account of his accidental discovery of our continent.
But Columbus was no saint, and his exploits in the new world included slavery and genocide – the sins for which we see his visages being targeted today.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has taken a proactive, albeit clandestine approach to the likeness of Columbus on city property.
Days after 19 Chicago police officers were hospitalized after defending a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park, Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the unilateral decision to topple it herself in the middle of the night. The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
The Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park was removed hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for its removal.
Two cranes pulled their way up to the statue just before 2 a.m. Friday, after hours of vocal confrontations between protestors and supporters of the statue, including John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) told the Chicago Sun-Times late Thursday that Lightfoot made “a unilateral decision” to take down the statues. Hopkins said the intention was to have them removed Thursday night.
“At this hour, there is discussion about postponing the removal, but the mayor has not indicated any reversal of her decision,” he said.
When the news broke, over a thousand protesters who were rallying near Lightfoot’s Logan Square home rejoiced. Soon after, an organizer led the crowd in a celebratory chant.
“Thank you for the statue, now defund CPD,” the crowd bellowed.
Lightfoot may have had other motivations as well, with President Trump threatening to send federal forces to The Windy City to protest federal assets in the coming days. By removing the Columbus statue, Lightfoot may have prevented an unruly scene from unfolding and giving Los Federales an excuse to exert their authority.
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