Community leaders pushback on judges ruling to keep Columbus statue

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Christopher Columbus monument will continue to stand tall in Columbus Circle after a judge ruled that the City of Syracuse can not remove the statue.
The Columbus Monument Association expressed their excitement for the statue remaining but other community leaders thought differently about the judge’s ruling.
The Lawyer for the Columbus Monument Association, Anthony Pietrfesa said, We’re very pleased. We’re sorry that a lawsuit was necessary, to begin with. It’s not the way we wanted to go but the mayor had made his choices and we felt we had to do this.”
Pietrfesa added, that this was never an “us against them” situation and noted that the association never opposed the idea of having a heritage park the Mayor talked about last year. However, if that was going to be the plan it had to include the Columbus statue.
“It’s in recognition of the way we feel. We’re just gratified that the monument in its place in form will be in Syracuse enjoyed by people along with whatever else the commission wants to build. We’re glad to share the space, we’ve always have been,” said Pietrfesa.
Other leaders in the community like Bishop Dr. H Bernard Alex of Victory Temple Fellowship Church, who is also part of the City’s committee to Reimagine the Columbus Circle says the representation of the statue is different for indigenous people and other disenfranchised groups.
Dr. Alex said, “Authority, superiority, colonialism, westward expansion, and oppression.”
He added that even though the judge has spoken, the people are speaking and thinks the conversation needs to continue, the conversation of the people who are oppressed.

CNY Central 3/12/22

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