As Columbus, Ohio’s mayor announced that the city’s statue of Christopher Columbus will come down, a petition is circulating to rename the city “Flavortown.”
The legacy of Christopher Columbus has come into focus as the country comes to grips with the United States’ past with racism.
The Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus’ City Hall is one of several across the country that are slated to come down. Statues in both San Francisco and Sacramento are also in the process of being removed.
A separate statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, will come down from the center of Columbus State Community College's campus.
As of late Friday, more than 8,000 petitioners are calling for Columbus, Ohio’s renaming to Flavortown.
“Columbus is an amazing city, but one whose name is tarnished by the very name itself,” the petition reads.
“Why not rename the city Flavortown? The new name is twofold,” the petition adds. “For one, it honors Central Ohio's proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation's largest test markets for the food industry. Secondly, cheflebrity Guy Fieri was born in Columbus.”
Flavortown is Fieri's catchphrase, which he often says on episodes of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives."
Over the years, historians have accused Columbus of participating in slavery, murder and other atrocities against American natives in the 15th century. Despite this, Columbus was long hailed as a hero to the west, with a national holiday bestowed in his honor.
“For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness. That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther wrote in a statement. “Now is the right time to replace this statue with artwork that demonstrates our enduring fight to end racism and celebrate the themes of diversity and inclusion.”
A number of residents responded to Ginther in opposition to removing the statue, citing that the statue represents the city's and country's history.