ASTORIA, Queens — A statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in Queens was vandalized Thursday as the debate around monuments of controversial figures continues.
“Don’t honor genocide” and “take it down” was spray painted on the base of the Astoria statue. Columbus is just one historical figure under fire following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, sparked by white supremacists rallying in the city to protect Confederate monuments.
Activists across the country who view the explorer as a murderous colonizer have targeted Columbus statues. He also has his supporters in the city; Columbus is a source of pride in Italian communities.
The statue could come down in the future. Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered a 90-day review of statues on city property.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants the task force to look at a Columbus statue in Manhattan as a possible “symbol of hate.”
“There is ongoing dialogue and debate in the Caribbean, particularly Puerto Rico, that there should be no monument or statue of Christopher Columbus based on what he signifies to the native population: the oppression and everything that he brought with him,” Mark-Viverito said at a recent news conference.