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Debate Over The Fate Of San Jose's Christopher Columbus Statue

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Following a national debate over monuments, a group in San Jose is calling for the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus from inside city hall.

The Brown Berets have launched a petition aimed at the statue's removal claiming that it represents the genocide of native Americans.

"Christopher Columbus didn't just come here with nuts and berries for my ancestors," Peter Ortiz, a co-chair of the Brown Berets told the San Jose Mercury News. "There was rape and genocide."

Ortiz's group has told officials that it was willing to work with the city to find another location for the statue.

"We aren't trying to offend anyone, we are just trying to advocate for the unheard voices of our community," he told the paper.

The statue was donated to San Jose in 1958 by the Italian-American community. Many feel strongly that the statue should remain where it is including former San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio.

"No person in history is perfect — everybody has some flaw," Oliverio told the paper. "But ultimately it's the history of how the civilized world expanded."

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