Since Charlottesville, citizens have been protesting for the removal of racist and historically insensitive images such as Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag.
Cities are also beginning to reconsider whether Christopher Columbus is a figure that ought to be celebrated. In fact, Los Angeles recently replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
Now, Minnesota is poised to both remove a controversial statute and to thumb its nose at the Italian imperialist.
A petition titled, "Replace Columbus Statue with a Prince Statue and One Chosen by the Native Community," has been submitted to Governor Dayton and the State Legislature of Minnesota.
According to The International Business Times, nearly 3,000 people have signed the petition, which aims to replace a stature of Columbus that stands in the state's capital with one that depicts The Purple One, and one that honors the state's indigenous people.
A similar petition to replace a CSA statue in Virginia with one of Missy Elliot, has also gained a lot of traction.
The petition reads:
“Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners and those who threatened the livelihood of black people. Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved black and Native peoples in the Americas. We, the undersigned, do not believe that Columbus represents the values Minnesotans carry. Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish black and Native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational."
Community organizer Wintana Melekin created the petition.
“I spend a lot of time at our State Capitol,” Melekin said. “It’s a space that already does not feel inviting or inclusive to communities of color. To see Columbus every day in front of the building does not make it feel more welcoming. So, I put the petition together because I wanted to see someone, Prince, at the capitol because he represents a part of Minnesota that we are all proud of.”
On the petition, Melekin wrote, "Prince represents Minnesota values and Columbus does not.”
Those skeptical that Melekin will succeed need not worry. This isn't her first go-round.
May 23 is now Beyoncé Day in Minnesota, thanks to the activist.
“The replacement of Columbus is about the deep history of white supremacy and colonialism in the United States and the need for Minnesota to lead the country in this moment,” Melekin said. “We all know Prince is a genius, and who wouldn’t pick him over Columbus anyway?”