NY Italian-American Advocate Vows Electoral Retribution over Columbus Statue

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"Although your intentions may be well placed, I fear that an examination into these particular statues, as well as the many others the city hopes to 'review, ' will present complex and cloudy historical interpretations that will only serve to deepen gaps between people of NY with different backgrounds and historical worldviews", he wrote.

Speaking at a Democratic mayoral debate, de Blasio insisted, "I'm not going to get into the name game here", but left the door open to the change by adding, "We have to look at everything here".

Many activists consider the statues in their city of Columbus a symbol of hate or a symbol of racism.

The review comes after white nationalists and counter protesters fought in a deadly clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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"It's Columbus today and who knows who will be on this secret list tomorrow", Joe Borelli, the councilman for New York's Staten Island borough, said.

"When we look at history, we have to look at it thoroughly, and [Columbus] is a controversial figure", said Speaker of the New York City Council and native of Puerto Rico Melissa Mark-Viverito at a press conference on August 21.

Oh, and Christopher Columbus is not just a target in NY. Columbus did perpetrate genocide against Native American groups like the Taino, who inhabited the island of Hispaniola before he landed there in 1492.

"I see Christopher Columbus being a symbol of Italian American contributions to our nation", he said. "When the guidelines/criteria for review are set by the commission, we will make sure they are available to the public".

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Columbus is a figure with a complicated history - while he is often celebrated in history books for having "discovered" the Americas.

"I'm an Italian American, Italian Americans have [for] a long time been taught to be proud of Columbus, there's a lot to not be proud of as well", he said, according to CBS. "We have to look at history, we have to look at it thoroughly and clearly, and he is a controversial figure".

Joseph Guagliardo, chairman and CEO for the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian-American Organizations, blasted the speaker Sunday over the airwaves.

Malliotakis defended the statue and accused de Blasio of using the issue to gain votes.

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"What it suggests is the memory of the Italian-Americans that contributed to building this city, the very buildings that we engage in commerce in, that government sits in", the assemblyman said.

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