By WLS Staff
CHICAGO (WLS) — A committee formed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to review Chicago’s monument issued its report Friday to recommended that two statues of Christopher Columbus should not be returned and that they should be replaced with new monuments.
The statues were removed in July 2020, following protests grew out of the national outcry and protests over the murder of George Floyd and fatal police shooting of Breona Taylor.
The Grant Park statue was the focus of a protest that turned into a violent clash between Chicago police and protesters after protesters tried to tear it down.
The Chicago Monuments Project (CMP) Advisory Committee began its work in the fall of 2020 and conducted research and outreach in 2021 before compiling and anaylzing feedback in 2022.
Their report said, “The recommendations overwhelming conveyed the public’s desire for the creation of new monuments that memorialized Chicago’s true and complete history.”
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will support creating eight new works with a $50,000 planning grant.
The project awarded with grants are:
-The Greater Chatham Initiative for a Mahalia Jackson memorial
-Artists and community groups for a monument to historic events and people that have shaped the Latina/x experience in the Pilsen neighborhood
-The Mother Jones Heritage Project
-Community organizations working to create a monument to honor Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable and Kitihawa, his wife and a local Potawatomi woman
-Artist Patricia Nguyen and architectural designer John Lee for the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial concept
-The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project
-A Long Walk Home, for its “Visibility Project” proposal centering on Black women and girls
-A community-led monument to victims of gun violence in Chicago
CMP co-chairs Mark Kelly and Bonnie McDonald said in a statement, “As Co-chairs, we proudly submit our report for consideration. The committee recommends interventions, ongoing program investments, funding of new public art projects and the development of curriculum and engagement programs for youth, teachers and docents. We believe the report’s ideas and recommendations will strengthen our City as our public art collection becomes more honest about our history and far more inclusive regarding who is represented and what stories are told. To our knowledge, we had one of the most engaging processes among many cities also grappling with the topic of their problematic monuments. We wish to thank and acknowledge the work of the committee members in doing so; this was a labor of love on the part of our community and is proof of what is possible when we listen to each other.”
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