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By APB Staff Writer:
October 2017 : New York City
New York City’s Columbus Day Parade stepped off Monday morning under gloomy rainy skies and a continuing controversy about the statue of Christopher Columbus and celebrating him as a symbol of pride in Italian-American heritage.
Mayor de Blasio was met with sporadic boos from the sidelines of the parade. De Blasio became a lightning rod for criticism when he established a city commission to determine whether Christopher Columbus statues in the city should be considered as symbols of hate.
“You can debate the historic figure of Christopher Columbus but you can’t debate the contribution of Italian-Americans to this country,” de Blasio said. “That is beyond question.”
Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Citizens Foundation said “We’re very proud of our heritage, we’re going to continue to have our voice heard, and we respect all ethnicities.”
Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi whose father was discriminated against as an Italian-American even after serving in WWII said, “We need to learn about our history-understand our history – Native Americans as well and we celebrate Italian-American pride on Columbus Day and we have to keep this parade going.”
Meanwhile, the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle remains under round-the-clock watch by the NYPD.
Last month, vandals poured blood-red paint on the hands of another Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park and scrawled the words “hate will not be tolerated.”