By Joseph M. Calisi ©2022 All Rights Reserved
New York, NY
New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi revealed her position on the removal of the statue at Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
In an endorsement questionnaire for the Jim Owles Liberal LGBT Democratic Club, she answered: “It should come down and I have advocated for moving Italian heritage celebration to better representations of our wonderful contributions to this country.”
As a result, Alessandra Biaggi was slammed by the head of New York’s Italian American groups.
Angelo Vivolo, president of the Columbus Heritage Coalition has commented on the situation. In a statement published by the NY Post (https://nypost.com/2022/04/
It should be noted that the statue was paid for by those of Italian extraction and erected in a time of deep discrimination in this nation. Signs a century and more were commonly posted such as, “Help wanted – [Italian slur] need not apply” were common.
Vivolo also helps run the Columbus Day parade was stunned that Biaggi turned her back on the famous Italian explorer, a symbol revered by generations of Italian American immigrants, including her grandfather, former Bronx Congressman Mario Biaggi. Meanwhile, Vivolo said Biaggi betrayed her grandfather, Mario Biaggi.
Actor Chazz Palminteri, born and raised in The Bronx, also took issue with Biaggi abandoning Columbus by saying, “Columbus Day is a day of pride for all Italian Americans and the statue of Christoper Columbus will remain today, tomorrow, and forever,” the “Bronx Tale” playwright and “Bullets over Broadway” actor told The Post: “When I think of Christopher Columbus I think of my grandparents who following in the path of Columbus and came to America to find a better life. Long before Columbus was an Italian American hero he was an American hero. Italians rallied around him after the mass lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans in 1891 to show Americans their patriotism and that they too belonged in America.”
Founder and President of the Italian American Museum Joseph Scelsa said in reaction to the article in the NY Post, “When I think of Christopher Columbus, I think of my grandparents who followed in the path of Columbus and came to America to find a better life.” He added that “Long before Columbus was an Italian American hero, he was an American hero. Italians rallied around him after the mass lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans in 1891 to show Americans their patriotism and that they too belonged in America.”
Clearly, Ms. Biaggi should evaluate the expected response of the Italian American community at large before making such statements.