CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The future of a controversial statue in Chula Vista has been decided.
The Chula Vista City Council voted 4 to 1 on Tuesday to permanently remove the Christopher Columbus statue from Discovery Park. Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas also named the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The Kanap Kuahan Coalition held a rally in support of the statue removal ahead of the council meeting.
“The Columbus statue and monuments alike are reminders to my peers that white supremacy is not only condoned in our city, but glorified,” said a community member during public comment.
“We hope you will be able to correct history that has wronged so many of our communities,” another community member said.
As for what’s next, two organizations spoke out about wanting to preserve the statue. The Knights of Columbus want the statue in honor of Columbus.
“Now I know a lot of people here have talked tonight ‘Oh how horrible the guy is,’ but we’re very proud of him,” a member of Knights of Columbus said during public comment.
And the Sons and Daughters of Italy want the statue as an educational piece of history. While they support honoring Native Americans, they say their own recognition is important too and would like to include an Italian Heritage Day on the second Monday of October.
“Let’s stand together as one community, finally the Europeans and Americas can stand together and create our new world,” said a member with the Sons and Daughters of Italy during public comment.
Moving forward with plans for the park, Mayor Casillas Salas says inclusion is top of mind.
A task force made up of Human Relations Commission members, Parks and Rec, Sons and Daughters of Italy, Kumeyaay members and the Cultural Arts Commission will recommend a new name for Discovery Park and what art will serve the new generation and honor diversity, including the Kumeyaay community.