“Like many communities across the country, Philadelphia is experiencing a reckoning about the legacy of systemic racism and oppression in this country. Part of addressing that history is putting a spotlight on what historical figures deserve to be commemorated in our public spaces.
One figure that has come into question is Christopher Columbus and the statue erected in his honor that sits in Marconi Plaza on South Broad Street.
Christopher Columbus became a symbol of Italian communities’ contributions to U.S. history, but scholars and historians have uncovered first-hand documentation establishing that his arrival in the Americas also marked the beginning of the displacement and genocide of Indigenous people.
In recent weeks, clashes between those individuals who support the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza and those who are distressed by its existence have deteriorated to a concerning public safety situation. It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue.
The City is committed to finding a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture, while respecting the histories and circumstances of others that come from different backgrounds.
On Wednesday, July 22, the City will ask the Philadelphia Art Commission to approve removal of the statue from Marconi Plaza. Prior to making its presentation to the Art Commission, the City will allow for public input through written submissions, due by Tuesday, July 21. The public will also have the opportunity to testify at the Art Commission meeting; more details on that process will be shared when available.