A battle is brewing inside San Jose City Hall to remove a statue some say represents violence and genocide. The San Jose Brown Berets last week launched a petition to remove the Christopher Columbus statue from the City Hall lobby, its home since the East Santa Clara Street building opened in 2005.
“That part of history was written in my people’s blood,” said Peter Ortiz, 27, a labor organizer, trustee at Mount Pleasant Elementary School District and co-chair of the Brown Berets. “Christopher Columbus didn’t just come here with nuts and berries for my ancestors. There was rape and genocide.”
The statue was donated to San Jose in 1958 by the Italian-American community.