NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The organizers of the Columbus Day Parade are continuing their fight in defense of the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.
A commission to be appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio will perform a 90-day review of monuments and memorials that may cause offense, and the 76-foot tall statue of the explorer has not been exempt, meaning it could potentially end up on the chopping block.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation is distributing a questionnaire to political candidates asking where they stand on the issue.
It will also introduce an app called “Emojitalia,” that will help people contact their local representatives to show support of Columbus and Columbus Day. It also creates positive Italian emojis to attach to tweets and other social media posts.
Foundation president Angelo Vivolo said Italian-Americans — groups and individuals — from all across the country have contacted him in support of the statue.
“You can ask them how to make a tomato sauce and they’ll all have a different recipe but when it comes to maintaining the statue at Columbus Circle they’re all united — citywide, statewide and across the country,” Vivolo said.
As for the city’s Columbus Day Parade, Vivolo said “The mayor is more than welcome to march.”
But Vivolo said he can’t guarantee the reception he’ll receive in wake of the statue controversy.
“If he states that, ‘Well we’re going to let the commission speak and it’s going to be included in the analysis,’ I don’t think he’s going to be very well received by Italian-Americans,” Vivolo said. “This issue is not going to go away until it’s resolved in a way that the statue remain.”
The mayor has said that he will march in the parade and won’t be intimidated.
The mayor said the review could have several outcomes; statues removed, statues left alone, and also the possibility that a plaque could be added to explain and correct history.
“What he wants to do there, I don’t think would help in any way,” Vivolo said.
The commission could be named this weekend and it will make recommendations, with the mayor making the final decision.