Italian-American Group Requires Metropolis of Chicago to Return Columbus Statues – NBC Chicago

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An Italian-American group that has urged the city of Chicago to reinstall three Christopher Columbus guns shot down last summer said the city broke a long-standing deal when it removed the statues after peaceful and violent protests.

Ron Onesti, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, said the group reached an agreement with the Chicago Park District in 1973 in which he clearly stated, “There cannot just be changes to the Columbus statue in Arrigo Park, but also at Columbus Plaza as a whole. “

After violent clashes in July Statues of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park and Arrigo Park have been dismantled at the direction of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. A third statue at the intersection of East 92nd Street and South Exchange Avenue in South Chicago was also removed by the city crews.

At the time, Lightfoot said the move was “temporary” but did not provide a timeframe for the statues to be returned.

“We know there were safety concerns back then, but that’s now,” Onesti said on Friday. “It should be a temporary situation.”

Protesters across the county called for Columbus statues to be removed this summer, saying the Italian explorer was responsible for the genocide and exploitation of Native Americans.

Italian Americans, however, deny the characterization.

“The misinformation about Columbus and the genocide and everything for the most part is wrong and much of it is left to the senses,” Onesti said.

Onesti not only wants to secure the statues, but also hopes for more dialogue about the story of Columbus.

“Everyone is so sensitive these days and all we ask is that people be sensitive to our concerns,” he said. “We are all together, we all want to heal and the first step is conversation and respect for each other’s traditions. “

NBC 5 reached out to Mayor Lightfoot’s office and the Chicago Park District regarding the 1973 contract, but had received no response by Friday afternoon.