Minnesotans want a statue of Prince, not Christopher Columbus

Petition to swap out the statue has nearly 2,000 signatures.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

At a time when statues and memorials of Confederate leaders are coming down across the United States, a group of Minnesotans has decided it's time for another controversial monument to go: the Columbus statue in St. Paul.

The group of citizens led by community organizer Wintana Melekin have created a petition to remove the Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol. 

But they aren't just petitioning to say peace out to Columbus – they want to see the statue replaced with someone who "represents Minnesota values." 

Someone who has a rich history with the state and communities of color. Someone whose music and philanthropy transcend generations. Someone who makes Minnesotans proud of where they're from. 

Yep, we're talking about our one and only: Prince.

"Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners, and those who threatened the livelihood of Black people. Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved Black and Native peoples in the Americas. We, the undersigned, do not believe that Columbus represents 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 states.

It seems to be resonating with Minnesotans – as of Sunday afternoon, the petition had nearly reached its goal of 2,000 signatures

"Did Christopher Columbus drop a 13x platinum album? No. No he did not," one signer pointed out.

Once the petition meets its goal, it'll be presented to Gov. Mark Dayton.

History of controversy

This isn't the first time Minnesotans have taken issue with Columbus' legacy.

In 2015, demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol for the removal of the statue, which they said celebrated genocide. 

And some Minnesota cities have been disassociating from Columbus in recent years. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul celebrate "Indigenous Peoples Day" instead of Columbus Day, joining a growing number of U.S. cities that have reclaimed the holiday for Native Americans. Red Wing renamed it Chief Red Wing Day.

On the other hand, some Americans are questioning where we draw the line when it comes to removing historical monuments.

"By taking monuments down or hiding them away, we facilitate forgetting," Alfred Brophy, a law professor at the University of Alabama told MPR. "It purchases absolution too inexpensively. There is a value in owning our history."

Why Prince?

Watch The Yard asked Melekin why she thinks Prince would be a good alternative to Columbus.

“I spend a lot of time at our State Capitol. It’s a space that already does not feel inviting or inclusive to communities of color. So 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,” she stated.

Melekin has already had success in the past with another petition, Watch The Yard says. She helped make May 23 "Beyoncé Day" in Minnesota.

Next Up

Miguel Sano

Twins blow lead, drop to numbing 0-7 in extra innings

Byron Buxton left the game in the ninth inning with an apparent injury.

Minnesota State Fair

There will be no state-ordered restrictions for the State Fair this year

Fair organizers could still implement their own COVID safety restrictions.

Walz-May 6 - address

Walz: Prepare for a summer 'where just the simple pleasures will be back again'

But the governor made clear vaccinations are key to getting there more quickly.

moderna vaccine covid

Drug trial shows Moderna vaccine is 96% effective in teens

The drugmaker still needs federal authorization following more studies.

raku sushi

St. Louis Park restaurant owners accused in 'sophisticated' tax fraud scheme

They're accused of underpaying sales taxes by nearly $240,000.

uss minneapolis bell

Minneapolis Parks to get historic bell, wheel back from Minnetonka HS

The bell and wheel were stolen years ago and were discovered last year at Minnetonka High School.

Kellen Mond

Coller: Draft solidifies that 2021 holds answers to Vikings' future at QB

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Related

Minnesotans want a statue of Prince, not Christopher Columbus

Petition to swap out the statue has nearly 2,000 signatures.

christopher columbus statue

Walz: There will be 'consequences' for those who pulled down Columbus statue

He stressed there's a need for a process to get art removed from the Capitol.

Meet the Minnesotan who created this must-have Prince pin

The pin sold out in just a few hours, but more are coming soon.

Meet the Minnesotan who created this must-have Prince pin

The pin sold out in just a few hours, but more are coming soon.

His statue now stands in Shakopee, but who was Chief Sakpe?

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community unveiled the statue of him on Tuesday.

christopher columbus statue

Man who led protest to topple Columbus statue gets community service

This came following a restorative justice process that explored the underlying reasons and impact of the statue's illegal removal.

christopher columbus statue

Man charged for pulling down Columbus statue outside State Capitol

It follows an extensive investigation by the BCA and Ramsey County Attorney.

Prince's urn is a replica of Paisley Park – and was made in MN

The company that created a custom urn for Prince shared details of the design.