Bronx resident starts petition to remove Christopher Columbus statue in Belmont

Cepeda says he wants this Columbus statue to be removed in a peaceful manner, which is why he summoned local politicians to answer the call.

News 12 Staff

Aug 29, 2020, 5:21 PM

Updated 1,365 days ago

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Bronx resident starts petition to remove Christopher Columbus statue in Belmont
A Bronx resident started a petition to have a Christopher Columbus statue in Belmont removed.
Felix Cepeda started the petition to remove the statue at D'Auria-Murphy Triangle Park because he says, for many Indigenous and Black people, Christopher Columbus only represents oppression.
Sophia Guida, whose grandfather is Italian, is joining her boyfriend Cepeda in this fight.
"If something is offensive to one group, why have it up there in a public space?" Guida says.
Columbus is revered by many Italians, often painted as the Genoa explorer who discovered America – a contested belief. His name is also attached to controversy, namely the slavery and mutilation of indigenous people.
However, Frank Franz, a Belmont resident, opposes the petition and says the statue stands for something else.
"It was paid for by the pennies saved by poor and ignorant Italian immigrants who came here in the 1910s and 20s, who wanted it as a symbol of their connection to the old world and their pride of becoming Americans," Franz says. "To me, history, good or bad, is almost sacred and it's our responsibility to protect it."
The petition comes at a time when monuments and statues across the country have been defaced or damaged because they are believed to represent racist and oppressive ideals.
That movement was sparked by the police involved killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minnesota in May.
Cepeda says he wants this Columbus statue to be removed in a peaceful manner, which is why he summoned local politicians to answer the call.


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