âWe must honor this day as a day to recognize the contributions of all Italian Americans, so of course the day should not have been changed arbitrarily,â said de Blasio.
Chicago’s annual Columbus Day parade also returns on Monday after the pandemic forced the 2020 event that draws 20,000 people to cancel. It’s a vivid reminder of the ongoing fight for three statues of Columbus, still in storage by the city after protesters targeted them in the summer of 2020.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot in July 2020 ordered the statues to be removed and said the protests endangered protesters and police.
She then created a committee to examine the city’s monuments, including the fate of the monuments of Columbus. No plan has been publicly announced, but the Joint Italian-American Civic Committee planning the Columbus Day parade this summer has sued the city’s park district, demanding it be restored.
Ron Onesti, the organization’s chairman, said the parade usually attracts protesters and expects that on Monday as well. He sees the holidays, the parade, and the statues as a celebration of the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States, not just to Columbus.
“The result I am looking for is (for) our traditions to be respected and conversations to continue,” Onesti said on Saturday. âEach plaque that accompanies a statue indicates that it recognizes the contributions of the Italian community. So people have to figure out why it’s there, and then let’s sit down and figure out where to go from here. “