New York City is considering a proposal that could lead to the removal of monuments to George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and other historical figures. The proposal, which is being sponsored by several members of the City Council, would create a commission to review all public monuments and recommend which ones should be removed.
The proposal is based on the argument that some historical figures, such as Washington and Columbus, were involved in slavery, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. Supporters of the proposal argue that it is important to remove monuments to these figures in order to honor the victims of their crimes and to send a message that New York City does not condone racism, genocide, or other forms of oppression.
The proposal before the NYC Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations stipulates that public art that depicts someone who has a connection to slavery or “crimes against humanity” be taken down or have an “explanatory plaque” put up.
“This bill would require the Public Design Commission (PDC) to publish a plan to remove works of art on City property that depict a person who owned enslaved persons or directly benefitted [sic] economically from slavery, or who participated in systemic crimes against indigenous peoples or other crimes against humanity. If PDC determines a work of art depicts a person who fits these criteria and decides not to remove the work of art, PDC would be required to include in the plan steps it will take to install an explanatory plaque next to the work of art,” the proposalsays.
Republican officials said the proposal is an attempt to erase history and dishonor the individuals who created America.
“This is little more than an attempt by the radical left to rewrite our nation’s history,” said Republican Councilwoman Joann Ariola of Queens, according to the New York Post. “These men all had an enormous impact on this country, and these statues commemorating their achievements have been in place for decades.”
“The radical left has been trying to reframe our nation as one born from evil, and it is time we put our foot down and say enough is enough,” she said. “The Founding Fathers and the others who worked so hard to establish this great country should be celebrated, not eliminated from memory.”
— New York Post (@nypost) September 19, 2023