All references to Christopher Columbus will be removed from an Italian heritage monument in Norwich.
The Norwich Italian Heritage and Cultural Committee announced in a press release their decision to remove a carving of Columbus's face and his name on the monument, which is erected near the Chelsea Parade in Norwich.
"Norwich’s Italian Community is very sensitive to the feelings of the various groups that are offended by monuments honoring Columbus," members of the committee wrote in a press release. "We are listening, we have heard the protests and we will act."
The committee announced that they will replace the carving of Columbus on the monument with a statement honoring the Italian immigrants who settled in Norwich and contributed to the community.
The recommission is tentatively scheduled for September 12, according to the press release. Work was being done at the monument on Wednesday morning. The committee said that they will cover the Christopher Columbus portion of the monument until it can be recommissioned.
This comes as two petitions have circulated online. One petition is calling for the removal of the monument. Another petition is asking the mayor of Norwich to protect the monument.
Mayor Peter Nystrom said that it is important to preserve the monument and the investment that the Italian families made to the city of Norwich.
"They have contributed greatly to the city's history itself, its very foundations, you name it," said Nystrom.
According to the Italian Heritage and Cultural Committee, the Italian community raised funds years ago to purchase and install the Italian heritage monument in the city. While the top portion of the monument is a tribute to Christopher Columbus, the bottom half is a celebration of Italian immigrants. The base of the monument is filled with names of Italian Norwich ancestors.