July 3, 2020
Once hailed as the explorer who discovered America in 1492, Columbus is now considered to be a controversial figure in U.S. history—both for his treatment of the indigenous communities and for his role in violent colonization of the new world at their expense.
The recent Change.org appeal is urging the Cleveland City Council to remove the statue of the controversial explorer located in Tony Brush Park, in the Little Italy neighborhood of the city, and in its place, to erect a statue of Ettore (Hector) Boiardi —his real name, which was spelled phonetically for the commercial enterprise. The pitch has since received over 2,600 signatures.
For his part, Boirardi emigrated from Italy at age 16, later moving to Cleveland and opening a restaurant, Cleveland Channel 3/WKYC Studios reports. His sauce was so popular that he began bottling it for sale, which grew to become the Chef Boyardee brand of pasta and sauces today.
Boiardi’s company produced canned food rations for American soldiers in World War I a war effort contribution that earned the chef a Gold Star from the U.S. government in 1946. He lived in Northeast Ohio for the rest of his life, and passed away in 1985.
Now, the petition argues, the time has come to oust the Columbus statue and honor a more favorable Italian-American icon. “Columbus is not someone we should celebrate. He was a racist monster who initiated the genocide against indigenous Americans,” it claims.
The plea further praises Boiardi and his legacy as an “immigrant success story who enriched our community with his food and iconic mustache.”
Elsewhere in the Buckeye State, a statue of Columbus was removed from the front of Columbus City Hall on Wednesday. The figure will reportedly be replaced by a piece of new art that better represents the city and its people.
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