HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Construction crews removed a Christopher Columbus statue in Hartford on Monday morning.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced earlier this month that the statue in front of the Connecticut Superior Courthouse would be removed.
The monument had been up for nearly 100 years.
Bronin released a statement on Monday afternoon.
“We took down the statue of Christopher Columbus early [Monday] morning, and we will continue the process of working with the Italian American community in Hartford and Greater Hartford to find a better way to honor and commemorate the Italian American community's immense contributions to our community and our country,” Bronin said. “Even during his own life and by the standards of his own time, Columbus was known and punished for his extraordinary tyranny and brutality, and there are better ways and more worthy heroes to honor the proud heritage and legacy of our Italian American community.”
Advocates said it was meant to symbolize Italian-Americans who faced intense discrimination.
Bronin released a statement in which he said the city would find another way to honor Italian-Americans.
The city’s acting Public Works director said crews will put up a temporary bronze plaque over Columbus’ name on the base.
Critics said Columbus's treatment of indigenous communities he encountered is not something that should be honored. They also said he had a role in the violent colonization, which came at their expense.
“His statue going down is a new chapter in our history, and for that I am glad. However, it is only a statue and what we need to do as Americans is to do new chapters in our own history when we think about the future of this country,” said Annette Landry, who was born and raised in Hartford.
She added that this means a chapter where everyone is equal, and where there is justice and freedom.
“If taking the statue down is one move toward that, then so be it,” Landry said.
Columbus statues have been coming down across the country and in Connecticut as a result of recent racial tensions.
Monuments in New Haven, New London and Middletown have been removed.