Photo by Erik Drost via Flickr
Columbus Citizens Foundation President Angelo Vivolo responded to the recent inquiries regarding the Christopher Columbus Monument in Columbus Circle:
Every year we are asked the question, “Why is the celebration of Columbus important to the Italian- American community?” The legacy of Columbus was essential in truly legitimizing our transition from Italians to Americans. Our Italian-American ancestors, facing bigotry and discrimination, identified Columbus as an Italian celebrated greatly across America for establishing a lasting bridge between the Old and New World.
Columbus was an explorer, a renowned sailor, and later governor who certainly partook in actions over the course of his career that were deemed unjust. The Foundation believes that these actions and their long-term consequences deserve serious reflection and acknowledgement, but we cannot and will not deny the role this seafarer from Genoa had in the eventual shaping of the United States of America.
As all nations do, we must continue to reevaluate our history as Americans, and whom we choose to honor. That being said, we will state for the record that we will not allow that reflection to come at the expense of a monument that has come to represent the many achievements that Italian Americans have accomplished.
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