My name Ricky Vang and I am a Patrick Henry High School student. We have been studying the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in our U.S. History class. I am aware that there is a statue of Christopher Columbus on the state capitol grounds and I believe the following changes should occur to this memorial. I think we should get rid of the statue, as he was a bad man being honored for his evil works and I don’t think he should have that honor. This issue to me is important because he tortured and murdered people, and we are still honoring the man in the middle of it.

Here are some specific facts from our class activities and my own research to support the need  to remove the statue of Christopher  Columbus  on our state capitol grounds.

Stories from people in the Caribbean tribes told how they were nice to Columbus and his men, but Columbus decided to use the indigenous people for his selfish needs to find gold and sold them for money. Columbus wrote a letter about his travels and how he reached ‘India’ and saw that the people had nothing but bits of gold and wanted to enslave them to get to the source of the gold they had — if  they didn’t he would  torture them or even murder them.

Stories told that Columbus and his men went from island to island in the Caribbean slaughtering tribes to get gold and riches. Columbus took them as slaves and sold them, and treated them horribly and killed millions of Arawaks with his men. People even thought the Arawaks were extinct because of Columbus. People even said Columbus and his men would rape women and young girls, then torture them by burning them or cutting off their arms, hands or legs. Torturing, murdering, gold, and riches was all he was there for.

My point is that Columbus was not a good guy and doesn’t deserve all the glory for his actions that we call illegal today. My voice matters, particularly in issues of who we choose to honor in our nation’s history. I would like Minnesotans to come together and support removing the Columbus memorial on our capitol grounds.

Ricky Vang