Petition started to remove Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park

PITTSBURGH — There’s a renewed push to have the city of Pittsburgh take down the Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park.

“He’s someone who was a slaver. He’s responsible for the genocide of the Taino people. He was a tyrant as a governor and he did a plethora of evil acts,” said Prem Rajgopal.

Rajgopal helped start a petition to have it taken down. It was started three weeks ago and already has more than 7,000 signatures.

He wants the statue to be removed altogether or put in a museum with a correct historical background.

“People don’t want these symbols of white supremacy and problematic things like that to be symbols to represent our city. I think with where the climate is at right now is the perfect time for our officials to step up and act,” Rajgopal said.

He said the city took down the Stephen Foster statue in 2018. It showed the Lawrenceville composer with a black man seated below him. And in Rajgopal’s mind, the Columbus statue is just as racist. He’s been fighting to have it removed since last year but says the recent civil unrest here and across the country renewed his determination.

“I think the important thing is that we just act on this as soon as possible. Because we’ve seen already in other cities people are taking this into their own hands. I would really love to see our city to be proactive,” Rajgopal said.