Grant Park

Lightfoot to Announce Plan Regarding Future of Chicago Monuments, Statues

The mayor hasn't provided specifics of the plans or said if it will include the removal of statues

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As calls continue nationwide for monuments depicting controversial figures, slave owners and members of the Confederacy to be taken down, in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has given a brief glimpse into the city's plans for such structures.

At a news conference Monday, the mayor said that later in the week she'll announce a process in which the city will take inventory of the various monuments, paintings "and other things that memorialize" Chicago's past and history.

"In time, our team will determine there are no monuments to African Americans in this city," Lightfoot said. "There are no monuments to women. There are no monuments that reflect the contributions of people in the city of Chicago who contributed to the greatness of this city."

Although the mayor hasn't provided specifics of the plans or said if it will include the removal of statues, last month Lightfoot said she doesn't believe the Christopher Columbus statue at Grant Park should be taken down.

Thanks to a decision reached at the Chicago Board of Education meeting Wednesday, students and faculty will now observe the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day rather than as Columbus Day. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports.

"Look, I know that the issue of Columbus, Columbus Day is an issue of great discussion but I think that the way in which we educate our young people in particular about the history is to educate them about the full history," Lightfoot said then.

On Friday, chaos erupted as a protest calling for the statue's removal turned violent, resulting in 49 Chicago police officers being injured and more than a dozen individuals being arrested.

In June, the same statue of Christopher Columbus was spray-painted with the letters "BLM" for Black Lives Matter. The following day, vandals hit a statue of President George Washington in the city's Washington Park, spray painting the words "slave owner" and "God Bless Amerikkka" on the base and placing a white hood over the monument in reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

On Monday, Lightfoot said the focus isn't just on a single statue, but now to make sure everyone is reflected in the city's history.

"We have not historically done that," she stated. "We need to do that. And this is the moment to address it at long last."

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