By: ISDA Staff
The Pittsburgh Art Commission voted Wednesday to remove the Christopher Columbus statue — which has overlooked Oakland since 1958 — from Schenley Park.
Italian Sons and Daughters of America has called Pittsburgh home since 1930, our organization is headquartered in this city, and we plan on vigorously fighting the decision.
“ISDA will call upon Mayor Bill Peduto to reject the recommendation of the Art Commission. In the event the city attempts to move forward, we are prepared to take the matter to court to prevent the city from removing the statue of Columbus from Schenley Park,” said ISDA President Basil Russo on Wednesday, after the decision was announced during a virtual meeting.
Columbus Day has become synonymous with Italian Heritage Day, the time when we remember the sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents, and the contributions Italian Americans have made in the U.S.
The time-honored Columbus Day parades began in the late 1800s as Italian immigrants attempted to create a sense of self-esteem and dignity during a period where they were subjected to lynchings, bigotry and prejudice throughout the country.
Columbus’s journey launched 500 years of immigration to America, attracting peoples from throughout the world seeking a better life for their families — this is the spirit we champion and are fighting to preserve, and this is what the Columbus statues stand for.
The Italian-American community has always supported the designation of an Indigenous Peoples Day as it is most rightly and most justly deserved.
We respectfully suggest the day after Thanksgiving, or August 9th (the day the United Nations has designated as Indigenous Peoples Day throughout the world) to be considered as alternate options.
What we don’t support is the agenda of those who want to rewrite our history, and in the process, diminish our traditions by targeting the 15th century explorer.
Please contact Mayor Peduto, and tell him why this historical monument should not be uprooted:
Office of Mayor William Peduto
Mailing address: 414 Grant Street, 5th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(Photo credit: Piotrus)