Italian American group wants removed Christopher Columbus statue returned

In the summer of 2020, a peaceful protest turned into violent clashes with Chicago police in Grant Park over the Christopher Columbus statue.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the statue would be temporarily removed and the city of Chicago started reviewing controversial statues and art.

Out of safety concerns, the statue of Columbus at Arrigo Park in Little Italy was removed as well. However, one group now says it is time to return the statues of Columbus to where they stood.

"To have anyone’s ethnic group challenged. Their heros and traditions challenged. There isn't an ethnic group anywhere that would allow their ethnic group to be dictated to them." said Ron Onesti, President of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.


The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans says a contract signed nearly 50 years ago between the Chicago Park District and the Columbus Statue Committee says both sides must determine what’s next for the statue.

"The agreement shows that we have a stake in the fate of this statue," said Onesti.

In North Lawndale, students decided the fate of Stephen Douglas Park, which was named after the late slave owner. The park and public library was renamed after former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and his wife Anna.

Residents and city leaders in North Lawndale met virtually to examine monuments in the area.

"I think monuments should represent not only the community that they are in. They should represent the advancement or struggles of that community," said Blanche Killingsworth of the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society.