by Jasmine Brianna Ellison
The statue of Christopher Columbus at the City of Newburgh’s waterfront was defaced October of 2018. The bronze figure’s hands were painted bright red following the Columbus Day celebration.
Upon a warning from UNICO National, Stamford, police stepped up patrols of Columbus Park and its statue. “We’re definitely going to bump up patrols, especially at night,” said Police Chief Armando Perez on Friday. “We’re preparing.”
UNICO National, the largest Italian American Organization in the USA was founded on 1922. Although the headquarters are located in Fairfield, New Jersey, the organization was origins lie in Waterbury, Connecticut. They are made up over one hundred chapters around the country including the Bloomfield Chapter of UNICO created in 1956. The organization is responsible for foundation that provides scholarships to roughly twenty five students in seven universities in the United States, including University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn.
Police believe the incidents may be related and may have been coordinated by an anarchist group, reported The Hour.
The supposed group was allegedly responsible for the vandalism of other Columbus statues. Including Seaside Park in Bridgeport where the statue was labeled with the words “Kill the Colonizer” in white paint and Norwalk where "FAKE NEWS" was stenciled in white paint at the base of the statue a part of the Heritage Wall in Thomas C. O’Connor Park on West Avenue.
On October 3rd, 2018, proceeding the sabotage, a sculpture of a Native American was placed in the center of Norwalk. It read the message “In Honor of the Indigenous People of Norwalk.” Since the Norwalk artist didn’t get ‘approval’ for the sculpture, it was removed by the city Thursday morning.
Columbus is known as the initiator of European colonialism in the Caribbean and North and South America by minorities in America. However, the explorer is honored with pride by Italian-Americans including national organizations.
President of the UNICO National, Thomas J. Vaughn Jr., stated, "Columbus represents the contributions that Italians and Italian-Americans have made to make our country great.”
He stated how disturbing it was to him “that Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day are being singled out for revisionist history which seeks to tarnish this great achievement.” Furthering, “As Italian-Americans, we embrace our culture and heritage and look to preserve it. Let us embrace and learn from our history, not bury it."
Ultimately, the varying opinions of Columbus’ effect on American society, has caused for colorless tax dollars to pay for the surveillance of his memorials. A consequence suffered only by the people.
1. Christopher Columbus Statues In Norwalk, Bridgeport Defaced By Vandals. October 2017.
2. Leonard Sparks. Christopher Columbus statue in Newburgh is vandalized. October 2018.