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American News Oct 11, 2021 6:51 PM EST

Syracuse mayor wants to ditch Columbus statue but residents say no way

“I don’t see how [taking] it down does anything but erase history for no reason. It belongs there. We’re proud of it, and we believe it should stay there.”

Syracuse mayor wants to ditch Columbus statue but residents say no way
Nick Monroe Cleveland, Ohio

The Columbus statue in Syracuse, New York, has survived since 1934 due to the local Columbus Monument Corporation dedicated to its maintenance and upkeep. But the question remains whether the historic statue can survive the most recent clash of modern political ideology.

It was in October 2020 that the city first announced its intentions for the city to remove their Christopher Columbus statue and change the name of Columbus Square to Heritage Park.

In an article from last month, they outline the response measures taken by the monument group: billboards/law signs, video ads, and even filing a petition against Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh in the state's Supreme Court to block the statue's removal. A dedicated community of Italian Americans firmly oppose the intended move by Walsh.

Back in 1992, the monument organization even raised enough money to restore the statue, in honor of the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Bahamas. When Italy won against England in the European soccer championship this year, the statue was a place of celebration for the locals.

The ongoing debate is described in a new piece from The Daily Wire.

On the part of Walsh, he defended his decision to the outlet:

"This decision is based on the fact that we can honor our Italian American community without focusing on a statue that has become the source of division over decades and overshadowed the original intent of the monument," he argued.

When it comes to celebrating Columbus Day, Walsh is left reiterating his support to the Italian American community, while at the same balancing that with those seemingly triggered by political slights Christopher Columbus represents to them.

On the other side is Anthony Ilacqua of the Columbus Monument Corporation.

"It’s not about hate. It’s not about racism. It’s not about genocide. It’s not about all the terrible … things that they attribute to him. It’s about the Italian American community," Ilacqua explained.

"This monument is very much a part of our family heritage. It wasn’t put up by unknown people in the past. We know who built it. We know who sculpted it, who raised the money. We know who put it up. It’s very much our monument. We take pride in it and celebrate it every year," stated.

Any plans to remove the Christopher Columbus statue are at a standstill until a legal decision is made by the courts.

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