Over the years, Columbus Day and the Columbus Monument have played a vital role in Italian-American acceptance and the celebration of Italian culture.
The statue itself was created by renowned Italian sculptor Gaetano Rosso in 1892 and funded by Italian-American immigrants through newspaper sales. At the request of the city, the Columbus Citizens Foundation is proud to have played a significant role in the statue’s restoration, which was completed in 1992.
Every year we are asked the question, “Why is the celebration of Columbus important to the Italian- American community?” The legacy of Columbus was essential in truly legitimizing our transition from Italians to Americans. Our Italian-American ancestors, facing bigotry and discrimination, identified Columbus as an Italian celebrated greatly across America for establishing a lasting bridge between the Old and New World.
Columbus was an explorer, a renowned sailor, and later governor who certainly partook in actions over the course of his career that were deemed unjust. The Foundation believes that these actions and their long-term consequences deserve serious reflection and acknowledgement, but we cannot and will not deny the role this seafarer from Genoa had in the eventual shaping of the United States of America.
As all nations do, we must continue to reevaluate our history as Americans, and whom we choose to honor. That being said, we will state for the record that we will not allow that reflection to come at the expense of a monument that has come to represent the many achievements that Italian Americans have accomplished.
We hold the Columbus holiday close to our hearts, not only as Italian Americans, but as proud American citizens who believe in the promises we know the United States holds for all of us.
With our Columbus Day Parade, it is with a pure intention of celebration and inclusivity that we march high school bands, cultural groups and charitable organizations up Fifth Avenue. It is our greatest wish that the Parade remain an event for all Americans to enjoy.
We are proud to stand up in support of the Columbus Monument and we will do all in our power to preserve its continued presence in our great city of New York.
President, Columbus Citizens Foundation
More info: https://www.columbuscitizensfd.org