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techkenyot.com January 23, 2018


NYC Decides Not To Remove Controversial Christopher Columbus Statue

13 January 2018, 04:16 | Elsie Buchanan

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Other controversial statues around the city will have markers added to give additional context.

The most contentious of the monuments under review was the Christopher Columbus statue that anchors the Columbus Circle roundabout on the southwestern corner of Central Park.

"Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution", said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement.

Last year, de Blasio set up a commission to review the city's statues and monuments amid violence stemming from a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

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The commission recommended moving the controversial statue of J. Marion Sims, now in Central Park, to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. "To confront this legacy in accordance with the principle of Historical understanding, the Commission feels that the City must take significant action to reframe the narrative presented in the monument".

The mayor added, "And we'll be taking a hard look at who has been left out and seeing where we can add new work to ensure our public spaces reflect the diversity and values of our great city".

Instead of removing the iconic statue, de Blasio has announced that plaques will go up explaining historical context, as well as the creation of a monument celebrating the achievements of indigenous peoples near Columbus Circle. Officials have decided that only one statue will be moved: that of Dr. J. Marion Sims, a 19th-century gynecologist who experimented on female slaves without their consent, and without anesthesia.

"It is now time to focus all our energies on the real issues impacting the lives of New Yorkers. As you will recall, at the November 28, 2017 Commission meeting, I noted numerous other important issues that actually affect the day-to-day lives of Staten Islanders that are not the subject of a commission, but are certainly deserving; issues such as Fast Ferry service, our hellish commutes, delays in city capital projects, street cuts, the lack of civics education in our schools, and Sandy recovery".

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When the city held public hearings on the controversial statues and monuments began many asked the city to retain the statues including that of Christopher Columbus, who many consider a symbol to the Italian-American community. "You can't change history". The statue has been the target of #DecolonizeThisPlace protests; previous year, activists splashed it with red paint, arguing that it symbolizes "genocide, dispossession, displacement, enslavement, and state terror".

As for the Theodore Roosevelt statue at the American Museum of Natural History, that will remain in place but the city says it will partner with the museum to provide additional context on-site through signage and education programming.

The panel's suggestions must be approved by the Public Design Commission under the law.

"I did not participate in it much", he told The Post.

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"We are pleased that the statue is going to remain, but we're absolutely not pleased about the idea of putting up a plaque in order to put historical information". I don't think so.



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