GRANT PARK — In a statement Friday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that the Christopher Columbus statues in Grant and Arrigo Park have been temporarily taken down in response to widespread protests. Until further notice, the statues have been relieved of park duty and will be on desk duty pending further investigation and the completion of a course of racial sensitivity training.
“We know the ongoing protests have made it clear they want the statues of Columbus taken down in Grant Park and Little Italy,” said Mayor Lightfoot, “But getting rid of these statues is just not feasible. Instead, we need to focus on reforming these statues through more training and the lightest punishment possible.”
The statues, depicting the famous non-Illinoisan conqueror Christopher Columbus, became the focus of protests as statues of horrible people across the country have been taken down in an effort to scale back how much white supremacy is openly celebrated in the Americas. Mayor Lightfoot’s hope is that time out of the public eye and rudimentary HR training will help the public no longer perceive the statues as celebrating the legacy of Columbus.
“Will they still be statues of Columbus after time off? Yes.” said Lightfoot, “But we’re hoping some time out of the public eye will remind people that they need statues of historical figures, even if they might not agree with what those historical figures did and even if those historical figures never set foot in Illinois or have anything to do with our city other than a vague notion of national identity.”
Until the statues complete their course of racial sensitivity training—listening to a podcast entitled “Things Your Elementary School Should Have Told You: Columbus Day”—they will be housed safely and comfortably with taxpayer dollars. Once completed, the statues will be cleaned and restored to their locations, their records cleared of any mention of enslaving the Taino people. The only actual change to the statues will be that they’ve been altered to look “10% sadder, as if considering their legacy.”
“Look, if there was a way to take down this statue and leave it down, we’d consider it. But what would be there if not a statue of Columbus?” concluded Mayor Lightfoot, “I’m sure we can all agree that there’s never been a Chicagoan worth making a statue of.”