ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Across the country, protests and violent clashes are breaking out as cities choose to remove Confederate monuments and other memorials to people and events that activists say are not indicative of American values, while defenders argue against whitewashing history.
In light of recent events, one group of Minnesotans has gathered almost 2,000 signatures to remove the state Capitol's Christopher Columbus statue, replacing it with one of the late Minneapolis music legend Prince.
Organizers, led by Wintana Melekin, say the actions of Columbus--who killed and enslaved many indigenous and African peoples during his time in the Americas--do not represent the values of everyday Minnesotans, who should honor "members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational."
As of Sunday, the petition had reached its 2,000 signature goal, with commenters noting their varied reasons for signing:
"Did Christopher Columbus drop a 13x platinum album? No. No he did not," wrote Manny A.
"After all, Mary Tyler Moore has a statue on the Nicollet Mall. Why not Prince?" Makeda N. added.
Melekin is also the organizer behind Minnesota's infamous "Beyonce Day," gaining enough signatures last year for Governor Mark Dayton to declare May 23, 2016 as the artist's official day in Minnesota.