Elorza not opposed to moving Columbus statue following vandalism


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After a statue of Christopher Columbus located in Providence was vandalized on Monday, city leaders are considering moving it somewhere else.

The statue – located at the intersection of Elmwood and Reservoir Avenues – was found doused in red paint with a sign that read “Stop Celebrating Genocide” placed at its base.

This is not the first time the statue has been defaced. In 2017, vandals similarly covered it with red paint.

Don Angelo with the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America wants the statue moved to Federal Hill, where he says it belongs.

“Everyone up there is upset,” Angelo said Tuesday.

He began leading the charge when the statue was vandalized in 2017.

“Times change, people change, neighborhoods change,” Angelo added.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he wouldn’t be opposed to relocating the statue. He also said in Providence, Columbus Day is about celebrating the contributions of Italo-Americans to the city.

“There’s no denying the fact that gross atrocities occurred back in 1492, but that’s separate from what we celebrate here at the local level,” Elorza said. “Let’s cover every single angle to this and make sure we do it right.”

Angelo said the Columbus Day vandalism this year is extremely different from what happened in 2017.

“I know right now there’s more momentum that I can see than ever before,” he said.

Angelo said he isn’t worried about the cost of moving the statue because Teamsters in Providence offered to take care of it for free. He is currently in the process of setting up meetings with Elorza to discuss finding the statue a new home.

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