Statement from Columbus Heritage Coalition
June 12, 2020
For Italian-Americans, the Christopher Columbus statue is a deeply-rooted public celebration of our immigrant heritage and a public expression of pride for our culture, our past and our identity.
The Columbus Heritage Coalition joins with our fellow citizens in the long-overdue public dialogue which is taking place in our own city and around the country about racism, discrimination and hate, and it is our fervent hope that peaceful demonstration with a strong and united voice will bring about constructive change.
This path to change cannot be allowed to detour down a destructive and hateful course, one which marginalizes and alienates Americans of any particular color, religion, or ethnicity.
The willful defilement of Columbus statues around the country and calls for similar vandalism or worse here in New York City, are not acts of peaceful protest or public enlightenment; they are acts of hate against more than 17 million Italian-Americans. The destruction or removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in New York would be a hate crime against Italian-Americans, which federal, state, and local law authorities must prosecute to the full extent of the law.
We ask our neighbors and fellow Americans to recognize, honor and respect what the Columbus statue, as well as our other cultural celebrations, means to Italian-Americans.
The strength of this great American nation lies within our diversity. Solving our most challenging problems will require all of us to work together, united with a mutual respect and understanding for our heritage, our history, and our humanity.
Columbus Heritage Coalition