Officials Hold Petition Drive to Save Columbus Statue

Officials Hold Petition Drive to Save Columbus Statue
by David Greene

Several local officials joined forces moments before the start of the 41st annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade kicked off, in announcing a petition drive to halt the growing calls to remove the iconic statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus from Manhattan’s Columbus Circle.

Local elected officials announce a petition drive to save the iconic statue of Christopher Columbus in Manhattan.--Photo by David Greene

Local elected officials announce a petition drive to save the iconic statue of Christopher Columbus in Manhattan.–Photo by David Greene

Before the start of this year’s parade held on Sunday, October 8, Senator’s Jeff Klein and Diane Savino were joined by Assembly members Michael Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj in announcing the petition drive against the removal of the 75-foot statue.

Local elected officials have taken a stand to defend against calls to remove a statue dedicated to Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.--Photo by David Greene

Local elected officials have taken a stand to defend against calls to remove a statue dedicated to Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.–Photo by David Greene

Klein explained, “It is offensive to tear down an important part of Italian-American history in New York City and we will not stand for it. The statue of Christopher Columbus represents the Italian immigrants voyage to New York City and a time when the group faced rampant discrimination.”

Gjonaj said, “As a celebration of Italian American heritage and their invaluable contribution to who we are as a nation, the statue represents the Italian Community’s spirit of hope, aspiration and discovery that is uniquely American.”

Benedetto added, “This is a clear example of a ‘the sky is falling mentality.’ Everyone is rushing around trying to topple all statues in sight. We need to accept the good and bad part of our heritage without trying to sugarcoat anything. Sanity and reason must return.”

Before the end of the parade, officials announced they had over 1,000 signatures and the drive will continue for the next two weeks, before being sent to the city commission currently reviewing public art.

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