On the morning of June 24th, I saw a video from the site of New Haven’s local statue of Christopher Columbus, on the day it was to be removed. At the request of many residents throughout the city, the statue was scheduled for removal from Wooster Square park, located in a historically Italian-American neighborhood of New Haven. The video showed local Black Lives Matter statue-removal supporters clashing with the Italian-American Group of New Haven
and, unfortunately, being attacked by some of the statue-removal protestors. This was a reminder that even as we make progress in acknowledging and repairing America’s history of racism, there will always be detractors and protestors who don’t yet understand the steps we need to take to become a truly liberated society.
I was motivated to stand in solidarity and to show my support for the removal of the statue. I biked over to the park and was pleasantly surprised to find it no longer a place of conflict, but a celebration of progress and change. We were there to witness history in the making; so many of us hoping that this symbolic act was the beginning of greater and deeper anti-racist work. The crowd cheered, sang, and waved goodbye to the statue as it was removed, and I joined in as well. I was excited to see the statue go, and am even more excited for the work to come. What goes in its place? How can we acknowledge our history of violence and learn from it? How can we heal the rifts that divide us? All I know is that I’m proud of my city for making this decision and starting these conversations.