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Peaceful protest Friday by Christopher Columbus statue in Mishawaka

(WNDU)
Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 12:49 AM EDT
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People gathered for a protest by the Christopher Columbus statue at Central Park in Mishawaka Friday.

Protesters kicked off the event with some round dancing.

"In recent years we have seen [round dancing] used a lot in protests, especially in issues where... indigenous rights are concerned," said organizer Madolyn Wesaw.

Wesaw also said the purpose of the protest was to speak out against systemic racism.

“It’s been hundreds of years of systemic racism and oppression and that’s exactly what this statue represent, and there’s so much momentum; and there’s this call for change going on in the country right now, and I think it’s important that we keep that momentum going," Wesaw said.

Protesters also wanted to shed light on the history behind Christopher Columbus.

"There's a lot of statues that historically have honored people who have done great deeds, and some of those deeds are only great in their eyes, or in the local community's eyes. When we look at an individual like Columbus, this is an individual who participated in genocide, rape, murder, child molestation and slave trade," said protester Jefferson Ballew.

While protesters did not tear down the statue, they said they wanted to "tear down the mindset of individuals who honor statues like this."

Protesters are asking the City of Mishawaka to eventually remove the statue that has been around since 1992.

At this time, Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood said the city has no plans to remove or even relocate the statue.

"He has stated that he's willing to have a discussion, so great, let's have it. Let's talk about it. Let's take it down. It's time," Wesaw said.

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