As the widespread conversation around police brutality and racial inequality continues into another week, statues of Columbus are being brought down across the nation to bring awareness to the cruelty he brought upon Indigenous people.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced earlier this week that the statue outside City Hall would be removed and placed in storage.
But for Tyler Woodbridge, who spent over seven years of his life in Columbus, the statue’s removal wasn’t enough.
“Even though it’s my favorite city, I was always a bit ashamed of the name,” Woodbridge told CNN.
“That kind of optimism and charitable work embodies more of what Columbus, Ohio, is about rather than the tarnished legacy of Christopher Columbus,” Woodbridge said.
But the fact that Flavortown came from Fieri is a bonus and not the main reason why he’s pushing for the name, Woodbridge said. Describing the city as a “melting pot” of different cultures and nationalities, Woodbridge said the name would honor the city’s “proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation’s largest test markets for the food industry,” according to the petition.
Woodbridge, who currently lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said he’s planning on driving back up to his hometown soon to deliver the printed petition to city officials.
Others have proposed changing the city’s name after an Indigenous figure, which Woodbridge says he supports. All he really wants is for the city to no longer be named after Columbus.
“We as a culture in America are waking up to how bad of a person he was,” Woodbridge said. “Now is the time for progressiveness. It’s a time for change.”