New York

Mayor to March in Columbus Day Parade Amid Debate Over Christopher Columbus Statue

De Blasio ordered a 90-day review of "all symbols of hate on city property"

Mayor de Blasio says he will march in the Columbus Day Parade in October amid an ongoing debate about statues.

De Blasio says the parade displays pride in Italian heritage and that he will attend the Oct. 9 event.

The mayor recently impaneled a commission to do a 90-day review of possible “symbols of hate” in the city, including a monument of Columbus on Columbus Circle.

Christopher Columbus tributes have been swept up in the ongoing national debate about statues following the violence in Charlottesville, which centered around a statue honoring the Confederacy.

Columbus has been regarded as a pioneering explorer of the 15th century and is seen as a hero to many, particularly Italian-Americans. But critics say he was a murderous colonizer to Native Americans and others.

On Monday, a statue of Columbus was found beheaded in a park in Yonkers, according to police. 

Nicole Malliotakis, the de Blasio’s presumptive Republican challenger for mayor, said earlier this month that she thinks the statue in Columbus Circle should stay put.

“Even Christopher Columbus, the founder of our nation, is under attack,” she said, later saying she misspoke when she referred to Columbus as a founder of the U.S.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is among those who want the statue of Columbus removed due to his treatment of Native Americans.

"I will wait for the commission, as I said Christopher Columbus is a controversial figure to many of us particularly in the Caribbean and I think that that has to be looked at, when you have to look at history we have to look at it thoroughly and clearly," Mark-Viverito said earlier this month.

The NYPD Columbia Association, a 6,000-member organization of officers who promotes awareness of contributions made to the U.S. by Italians and Italian-Americans, says it "strongly condemns" Mark-Viverito's call to remove the statue of Columbus, which was gifted to the city by Italian Americans in 1892.

Congressman Dan Donovan has offered to move the bronze sculpture to Staten Island, where he said it would be welcomed by his constituents.

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