On Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a decision on the threatened statue of Christopher Columbus at the city’s Marconi Plaza.
To Jim, the monument — which was likely the first publicly-funded tribute to the man often credited with discovering the New World — should come down.
Kenney’s reason: “public safety.”
Here’s the world according to Jim:
“Like many communities across the country, Philadelphia is in the midst of a much-needed reckoning about the legacy of systemic racism and oppression in this country and around the world.”
The mayor wants to know — which parts of history deserve to be featured as parts of history?
“Part of that reckoning requires reexamining what historical figures deserve to be commemorated in our public spaces.”
People have been fighting over the statue for a bit — for a spotlighting of the spite, see RedState legend streiff’s June 14th piece here.
Jim thinks enough’s enough:
“In recent weeks, clashes between individuals who support the statue…and those who are distressed by its existence have deteriorated—creating a concerning public safety situation that cannot be allowed to continue.”
As reported by CBS Philadelphia, on the same day as streiff’s article, “A city spokesperson told Eyewitness News that there are no plans to remove the statue…any time in the future.”
But Jim’s ready for progress:
“We must find a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture while respecting the histories and circumstances of others that come from different backgrounds.”
Therefore, courtesy of The Daily Wire:
City officials announced on Wednesday they are initiating a process they hope to culminate in approval from the Philadelphia Art Commission for removing the statue after they offer a formal proposal on July 22.
It’s an interesting move — responding to threats of vandalism by accomodating the vandals so no one gets hurt.
Jim’s not alone in his approach — as I covered Saturday, after protestors toppled two statues in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper maneuvered thusly:
“I have ordered the Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds be moved to protect public safety. I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site.”
I have ordered the Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds be moved to protect public safety. I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site. (1/3)
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) June 20, 2020
The Columbus statue was erected October 12, 1876. It was purchased for $18,000 with funds raised by Italian-Americans and the Columbus Monument Association.
It’s lasted nearly 144 years.
Yet, in a world seemingly spinning faster by the second, a near-century-and-a-half can be cut down in the twinkling of an eye.
Nevertheless, Philadelphians have a window in which to voice their opinions.
Residents can share their thoughts on the Christopher Columbus Statue by completing an online form through July 21. Members of the public will also be able to provide comments at the Art Commission meeting, which will be announced at a later date.
For protection, the statue was boarded up last week.
BOARDED & BOXED: @PhillyMayor ordered the Christopher Columbus statue boxed in until the Arts Commission can order a public process plays out about its future here in South Philadelphia. Will it stay or will it go? pic.twitter.com/ti35z7WQUw
— Lauren Dawn Johnson (@LaurenDawnFox29) June 17, 2020
Now it seems the man who “sailed the ocean blue” may never see the blue American sky again.
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