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Christopher Columbus monument in North End park vandalized

A statue of Columbus on top of the monument was beheaded in June 2020. The city then removed the statue.

Just hours before people arrived to celebrate Columbus Day at the Waterfront Park in the North End on Monday, the monument that had served as the base of a Christopher Columbus statue was found vandalized, with the words “Land Back” spray painted on it in red writing.

The statue itself was beheaded in June 2020. The city then removed it from the park and put it in storage, with then-Mayor Marty Walsh saying that fall it’d eventually be displayed at an affordable housing development being built in the neighborhood.

On Monday, members of the Italian American Alliance and others gathered at the monument in the afternoon to celebrate Columbus Day and rally against it being replaced. The federal holiday has been controversial in recent decades given Columbus’s actions but even more so now as many states and cities, including Boston just this month, have chosen to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in recent years.

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Earlier this month, President Joe Biden also proclaimed Monday, Oct. 11, Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States.

“I don’t think it should come as a surprise that, you know, our reaction was one of continued frustration and anger at both the city officials and a larger community,” said Brian Patacchiola, a board member of the Italian American Alliance. “I mean, Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day, for our community, represents our arrival to the Americas, but more than that, it represents the community’s acceptance of Italian Americans immigrants.”

Patacchiola said he feels that the movement away from Columbus Day is a discriminatory issue against Italian Americans and immigrants.

“Part of our frustration is, we feel for the native tribes … we would like to ally with them … but not at the expense of ourselves or anyone else for that matter, especially when there are approximately 330 days of the year that there are no other holidays on,” he said.

According to Patacchiola, the city has yet to answer his organization’s demands for funds to erect a replacement statue of Columbus on the monument.

Another statue of Columbus was vandalized and covered in red paint Tuesday night in Worcester. It was the second time the statue has been vandalized in 16 months.

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