De Blasio says he will ‘definitely’ march in Columbus Day Parade despite monument flap

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The Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus Circle is pictured. (Creative commons)

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’ll “definitely” march in New York City’s Columbus Day Parade despite a controversy over statues of the explorer.

De Blasio says the Oct. 9 parade is an opportunity to express pride in Italian heritage and contributions.

The national soul-searching over whether to take down monuments to Confederacy leaders has extended to other historical figures.

Activists in New York and elsewhere are targeting statues of Columbus. The explorer is seen as a hero to many for “discovering” the New World, but he’s considered a murderous colonizer to Native Americans and others.

De Blasio has ordered a 90-day review of statues on city property.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants Mayor de Blasio’s task force to look at the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle 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.

PIX11 contributed to this report.