Activists and concerned citizens across the country have been calling for the removal of public statues of questionable or offensive historical figures and just this morning a statue of Christopher Columbus has been taken down and is being removed from Tower Grove Park.
The Columbus statue has become a hot topic locally, with a petition circulating for its removal. Petition organizer Rachel Sender was calling for the removal of the statue
on the grounds of historical evidence that shows Columbus was "a war criminal who raped, tortured, pillaged and murdered the people indigenous to the land he stole."
When news the statue was being removed hit this morning, Sender was surprised.
"I'm so excited that they removed the statue and am also amazed by how quickly it happened. I definitely don't want to take credit. I know that people in the community have wanted its removal for a long time, and the petition would have been nothing without all of the signatures and overwhelming support.
"I think it's incredible that the people of the TGP association were able to learn and grow and take real action toward change. Also, while this is a great victory, there is still much more work to be done in St. Louis. We must all continue to support and amplify BLM and all related groups calling for reform and racial justice."
People pushing for the removal of the statue had planned to meet and present their concerns at the Piper Palm House on June 23, when the Tower Grove Park Board of Commissioners is set to meet.
But it seems that park officials have heard and acted on their concerns in advance of the meeting.
At the same time that the park was announcing the removal of the statue online
, it was already coming down. Early morning workers and exercisers reported crews in the park working to remove the offensive monument.
Columbus was already down and strapped onto a truck and off to (not) discover new worlds by 8 a.m. today. So far, park officials have refuse to say how the board made its decision or where the statue has been moved.
The statement from Tower Grove Park Board of Commissioner's is below. You can see photos from the park this morning here
Reporter Mike Fitzgerald contributed to this story.
Editor's note: This story was updated after publication with additional details.
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