New Britain advances review of Columbus statue removal
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — New Britain’s Common Council has advanced a measure that would remove a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus from a city park.
The council heard from residents and others for more than two hours Thursday before voting to refer a resolution for removal of the statue to committee for review. The Administration, Finance and Law Committee will analyze the cost of removing the statue from McCabe Park and where it should be taken, the New Britain Herald reported.
Some commenters recommended removing the statue and replacing it with another historical figure, while others suggested keeping the statue in place but adding informational plaques.
Council members stressed that removing the statue is not meant to show disrespect for the Italian-American community in the region.
“I urge some of the local Italian groups in New Britain to volunteer their space so this statue can, in a dignified way, be removed from the public to the private. And then replace it with another Italian representation,” said Alderwoman Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, who made the motion for referral.
Columbus statues have been removed in several Connecticut cities including Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, New London, Norwalk and Middletown, prompted by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by police in Minneapolis. Opponents of the statues say Columbus was responsible for the genocide and exploitation of native peoples in the Americas.
The statue in Bridgeport was removed by officials who said they wanted to protect it from potential vandalism. In July, a man broke the head off the Columbus statue in front of Waterbury’s city hall.