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Pueblo activists to draft resolution for city council over the Christopher Columbus statue

Posted at 8:25 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 07:41:40-04

PUEBLO — Activists opposed to the Christopher Columbus statue in Pueblo are renewing their push to get it taken down.

A group called Movimento Sigue also known as the Movement Continues is planning to call on Pueblo City Council members to vote on the removal of the statue.

"We are asking city council to bring up a resolution or ordinance to take down the statue," said Tomas Martinez Ortega, Spokesperson for the Movement Continues.

Following the death of his mother Rita, one of Pueblo's strongest voices for indigenous rights, Martinez Ortega decided to continue her work in getting the statue removed from the Mesa Junction.

"I'm 39, about to be 40 next year and I've been doing this since age 0. My mom and dad both were in the Chicana and Chicano movement so I was born into this position," said Martinez Ortega.

He says the decision comes after several attempts to get city officials involved over the fate of the statue.

"We've tried everything else possible to take the statue down. We've tried making people aware of it and holding city officials accountable. We have a brand new mayor who we thought would be able to make some decisions alone. Whether to take it down, box it up, put a tarp over it, that was his initial decision and we went after him to ask him to do something. He did not, he said that we would have to go through city council. We went to city council and they had the idea to pass the buck and not make a decision. They hired an arbitrator, someone who would come in and meditate for several weeks and try to come up with a solution between our group and the Sons of Italy, " said Martinez Ortega.

He says they've been consulting multiply lawyers on the type of wording necessary for the resolution. Their goal is to get the bust removed and leave it up to city council members to decide the replacement.

"It's a very simple resolution. We are not looking to add pages and pages of an ordinance or resolution. We are just asking for it to be taken down. Whatever they feel is comfortable for them to ask their lawyers because they have their own lawyers," said Martinez Ortega. "Ultimately it boils down to asks, and the asks are they take down the bust which sits on top of a pillar. What they do with the pillar is up to them, it's made out of concrete and already eroding."

If city council members vote against the resolution or don't support it.

"Then I think it's time to get a new city council. We know there are four right now who are term-limited or up for re-election. I think it's time to get more educated or understanding city council " said Martinez Ortega.

The group plans to attend an upcoming city council work session to discuss their plans. They've invested in books to educate council members on the history of Christopher Columbus.