A mob assembled on the Fourth of July, ripped down a Christopher Columbus statue and threw it into Baltimore Harbor.
Once again, city officials collectively shrugged their shoulders and looked the other way.
In response, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wrote, “Baltimore city leaders need to regain control of their own streets and immediately start making them safer. That is the antithesis of democracy and should be condemned by everyone, regardless of their politics.”
We have a question for the vandals posing as protesters: how will historians view your actions in the coming years?
The fact of the matter is Columbus statues have nothing to do with today’s racial injustice, and the destruction is shameful because these lawless actions are distorting and overshadowing the work of real activists who are striving to uplift minorities by stamping out discrimination.
Italian Americans know all too well how prejudice can manifest into violence and subjugation. We were lynched in the streets, we were nearly crushed by economic inequality and we were held in internment camps during WWII.
That’s what makes this all the more unbelievable, because we used Columbus as a unifying symbol to fight back against the waves of discrimination that sought to drown out our culture.
That’s what these statues stand for, and we refuse to have that factual narrative erased by misinformed individuals.
The most important lesson Martin Luther King Jr. taught us was that peaceful protest is the key.
It’s easy to topple a statue, but it’s hard to drive social reform through lawful initiatives.
We did it, MLK did it and we implore these radicals to stop buying into the delusion that progress will be achieved through chaos.
The history lessons of today convey that lesson, and the curriculum of tomorrow won’t be any different.