Sunday, August 7, 2022

More controversy on the NYC Columbus statue: Senator Alessandra Biaggi advocates its removal

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/2022/04/28/italians-slam-biaggi-for-boosting-removal-of-nyc-columbus-statue/), Vivolo said, “Senator, it is time to drop the hate and seek the truth. I hope you realize what it means to represent all the people respectfully. When you offend one culture, you offend all,” Vivolo said in an “open letter” emailed to Italian-American groups.

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.

Ceremonial wreath at the bottom of the Columbus statue after the Columbus Citizens Foundation wreath-laying at Columbus Circle. By Joseph M. Calisi ©2022 All Rights Reserved

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.”

By Joseph M. Calisi ©2022 All Rights Reserved

Clearly, Ms. Biaggi should evaluate the expected response of the Italian American community at large before making such statements.

Joseph Calisi
Joseph Calisihttps://josephmcalisiphotography.com/
International Transportation Photojournalist and Syndicator of News Stories and Images Since 1993 TV credits include Telly Award finalist (11-minute documentary on the last days of mainline steam trains in the world in China) and NY Emmy Award nominee for a news magazine story on the 75th anniversary of NY’s IND subway.

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