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Canceled: Sunday Rally at Christopher Columbus Park to Restore Statue

June 12 Update: The scheduled rally has been canceled. City officials including Mayor Marty Walsh plan to meet with leaders of the Italian American groups who had scheduled the event. Dr. Frank Mazzaglia, Communications Officer for the Italian American Alliance said, “We appreciate Mayor Walsh for his sensitivity to the feelings of Italian Americans across the State who were outraged at the statue’s vandalism. The Columbus statue was paid for through the private donations of citizens and associations in the North End. Leaders of the Italian American Alliance expect a positive outcome concerning the statue’s future following an honest dialog.”


Italian American groups are organizing a rally and march on Sunday, June 14, 2 p.m., at Christopher Columbus Park, 100 Atlantic Avenue in Boston’s North End in support of returning the statue to the park.

Sponsors include the Sons and Daughters of Italy, UNICO, The Federation of Italian Organizations, St. Joseph’s Society, the Pirandello Lyceum, and the Italian American Alliance.

Flyers being distributed by sponsoring groups are shown below.

Officials said they have also heard of potential counter-protests on social media, although we have not found flyers or groups sponsoring those at this time. Information can be emailed to info@northendwaterfront.com.

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9 Replies to “Canceled: Sunday Rally at Christopher Columbus Park to Restore Statue

  1. While I believe Christopher Columbus didn’t represent the faith or values of our community, he still introduced the Europeans to America. He reshaped the world for us Italian-Americans. His methods were horrible, but if not for him, we wouldn’t be here. We can’t go back and undo what has happened, but we can all come together and accept that every race has suffered in one way or another. None of us today were there 100 years ago. There are good and bad in every race. Do things need to change? Absolutely! But, we need to start here and now, every race, every individual, every community must take responsibility for our own actions. Not blame each other. We can’t change the past, we can’t change history, nor should we, but we can learn from it, not make the same mistakes and create change that makes every one us proud, accepting, tolerant, and eager to take part in making this country a better place for all, but Christopher Columbus is the reason Italian Americans are here!! That means something!
    Are we going to erase, destroy, or change every single that has shaped this country good or bad? Does this mean we will destroy every rap song ever written, pull every movie ever made that has taught us about our own cultures, are we going to change street signs, and worse, does this mean we are going to change our right to free speech and our right to our own feelings? I absolutely believe this country needs change. I am a white, lesbian woman. I am not ashamed of being white, nor ashamed or being a lesbian. I believe we are all the same, yet we are unique in our own way, we should not see color, race, sexual orientation, religion or even political affiliation, we should see human beings. We need to learn from our children. They don’t see color or race, they see a friend. They don’t look back at yesterday, they focus on the moment and when they don’t agree with each other, they high five or hug it out. They don’t pull heads off statues, set police cruisers on fire, throw bottles at others nor do they insult with racist, unkind words.
    While we may not agree with how things were done years ago, we also need to embrace history for what it was and create a world today in which we want to live in peace and harmony. A country filled with kindness and with love. Change is necessary, but to destroy something that is a part of our culture, is like erasing every Italian American, for without Christopher Columbus’s journey, we would not exist here.
    As someone who works in the ER, I can only ask that everyone please stay safe, be kind and have an open heart.
    Trisha

    1. Props to you Trisha comments like these are what people need to see we need more folks like Trisha. What a explanation. Prayers to you every day while you are working hardly in that ER room. Your a hero. 👌💯💪🏳️‍🌈 This would be close to my same comment and my opinion.

    2. Trisha , I really appreciated reading your comment. I’m not sure if your words will change anybody’s views or opinion but that’s not the point.I remember years ago at a NE Feast that a guy who was obviously a tourist asked me ” Why do you people celebrate and carry statues?” Their not Saints their plaster” I told him that their was no sense trying to explain it to him because he would never understand. So thank you for your post and thank you for what you do. Stay safe & healthy.

    3. To say that Italian-Americans are here because of Christopher Columbus seriously undervalues the motivation of those who made that formidable journey. Their immigration was spurred by a myriad of historical factors but ultimately they came because they had the grit and determination to seek a better life for their families. When I work on the history of my husband’s Italian family, I marvel at the tenacity of his immigrant ancestors. They left from poor, rock-bound villages to a far-away country, knowing that in all likelihood they would never return. They came to a place where they were mocked, discriminated against and where the immigration officials and census-takers couldn’t even spell their beautiful names correctly. They worked long hours at grueling jobs and often lived in crowded slums. Nevertheless, they endured and then they flourished. They were sustained by the communities they formed and the wonderful culture and cuisine they brought with them. If they sang a song, they sang it operatically and if they only had a can of peas, they somehow made it into the best thing you ever tasted. (Being of the Irish persuasion, this always impressed me. As my dear friend Gino once said, “When did you ever see people lined up in front of an Irish restaurant?”) I have no idea how the sacrifices and accomplishments of the Italians in America came to be symbolized by a fortune-seeker who sailed under the sponsorship of the progenitors of the Spanish Inquisition. I agree with James Joyce – “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” But the point is that we are constantly learning more about history and we constantly need to reassess what is a source of pride and what is not. This is not about forgetting – it is about remembering. It can be an uncomfortable process – I like my myths and heroes as much as the next person. I’m still trying to process the fact that St. Patrick was actually a Roman citizen! And speaking of St. Patrick, when Ireland got its independence, many place names and monuments which were vestiges of British rule were re-evaluated, significant changes were made and sometimes self-help actions were taken when things did not move quickly enough. It was a disorienting process for many but in the end the Irish understood that there was a difference between remembering something and honoring it. They have not forgotten their history and neither will we. There is no doubt that Italian-Americans should be honored in the North End and there is no doubt that there are many exceptional options for doing so. It would be a tragedy if a miniscule statue on an out-sized base erected by a suburbanite with an extremist political agenda https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Stivaletta becomes a flash-point for divisiveness at a time when the majority of Americans realize that we need to work together for change. I suggest checking out Lisa Green’s thoughtful petition at change.org: https://www.change.org/p/friends-of-christopher-columbus-park-replace-the-christopher-columbus-statue-rename-christopher-columbus-park

    4. Trisha Amen to you very well said but this needs to come from the top otherwise it’s going to continue until we don’t have any history. Christopher Columbus needs to go back where he belongs at the Christopher Columbus Park thanks

  2. Christopher Columbus ordered his men to cut the hands off of everyone 14 and older who didn’t meet his impossible gold quota and allowed girls as young as nine to be sexually abused. The Spanish monarchy ultimately arrested and removed him from Hispaniola because his behavior did not even meet the decency standards of the 15th century. He was not liked in his time and it’s a 20th century revision of history that saw him elevated to hero status. Let’s pick a worthier person to celebrate.

  3. This comment is from an extremely involved, and hard-working, member of the non-profit .com – ‘Friends of Christopher Columbus Park.’ One of the many committee’s I work on is the Horticulture Committee. I am disturbed and fearful that it’s almost an inevitable fact, this ‘protest’ is going to have many un-caring, disrespectful attendee’s ruin the space, negating the many hours we members have spent working to make this Park so beautiful and inviting. Although we work closely with the City of Boston, it is FOCCP that pays for the blue-lit trellis, the Crescent Garden, the Garden of Hope, the roses and many of the activities for the community. Please respect our devotion to this jewel in the middle of our/your City.
    On my own, I’m charging/challenging ALL the organizations who have called for this demonstration to:
    1. Police the attendee’s yourselves during the demonstration.
    2. Have a clean-up committee.
    3. Leave the Park in the beautiful, inviting, clean condition you find it when you first arrive.
    Thank you very much!

  4. How about erecting a TRUE Italian American. They built Fenway and the State House! They worked in our government offices and owned so many staple businesses here. I think Christopher Columbus was only taught to glorify the injustices Natives had to endure for our great country to exist. Let’s not prop him up anymore. He wasn’t the first or last to “discover” America. Our ancestors had no allegiance to him. Let’s erect a statue of a true Italian American hero.

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