New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a proposal for the removal of a statue commemorating explorer Christopher Columbus.
The man who made the Niñ a, the Pinta, and the Santa María required learning for generations of children is under fire in the Big Apple. Lawmakers want a monument to Columbus and his journey in 1492 removed from the Upper West Side in response to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over controversial historical figures.
Ben Sarle, a mayoral spokesman, confirmed with the New York Observer on Tuesday that Mr. de Blasio will give “immediate attention” to the proposal as part of his a 90-day review of all statues and monuments.
“The Columbus statue is obviously one that will get very immediate attention because there’s been tremendous concern raised about it,” Mr. Sarle told the newspaper via email. “When the guidelines/criteria for review are set by the commission, we will make sure they are available to the public.”
A recent rally in Harlem also featured City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito discussing the monument.
“We have to look at it thoroughly,” the Democrat said Monday, the Observer reported. “He is a controversial figure and I know that some may take offense to that but for many of us that come from the Caribbean islands, we see him as a controversial figure.”
The proposal came after the defacement of a 200-year-old Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore early Monday morning. A member of a group called “Popular Resistance” uploaded a video to YouTube boasting of the crime.
“Baltimore’s poverty is concentrated in African-American households, and these statues are just an extra slap in the face,” one of the men responsible says in the video, The Washington Times reported Monday. “They were built in the 20th century in response to a movement for African Americans’ human dignity. What kind of a culture goes to such lengths to build such hate-filled monuments? What kind of a culture clings to those monuments in 2017? The culture of white supremacy preceded the United States. It’s at the foundation of U.S. culture, business, bureaucracies and psychology.”
Text on the vandalized monument read: “Sacred to the Memory of Chris. Columbus Oct. XII MDCC VIIIC.”
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