Photo via Public Domain
The commission created by Mayor Bill de Blasio to review possible “symbols of hate” on city property will hold a series of public hearings this month to get feedback from New Yorkers about controversial monuments. In August, the mayor created the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, a group tasked with a 90-day review of all potentially offensive symbols, following the white supremacist-led violence in Charlottesville, V.A. Two months later, the city launched an online survey as a way for the public to weigh in on the issue. To get further input on this controversial issue, the commission will hold public hearings in every borough throughout this month, allowing residents to testify at them (h/t NY Daily News).
De Blasio announced the 18-member commission in September as a way to develop guidelines on how to address monuments seen as oppressive or “inconsistent with the values of New York City.” Ford Foundation president Darren Walker and the mayor’s cultural affairs commissioner Thomas Finkelpearl serve as the co-chairs.
“We’re making sure this important conversation is grounded in the ideas, thoughts and concerns of the people who call our city home,” co-chair Finkelpearl told the Daily News.
Symbols of hate on city property currently being reviewed include all monuments related to Peter Stuyvesant, the East Harlem statue of Dr. James Marion Sims and the statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle, which has stirred up the most controversy. Councilmember Eric Ulrich from Queens even said he will introduce legislation that would give the City Council the power to override the mayor over monument decisions. The bill would require a majority vote in the council before moving forward.
“I am absolutely appalled that we have to stand on the steps of City Hall and demand respect from the government,” Ulrich said last month. “For so many New Yorkers, the Christopher Columbus statue serves as a symbol of the many profound contributions of Italians to American history. We live in a democracy, and it is a disgrace that I need to introduce legislation to restore transparency.”
The commission’s review will end on Dec. 7 and the mayor will then decide which, if any, statues need to be removed or changed.
The schedule for the public hearings, all beginning at 10 am, is as follows: Nov. 17 in Queens, Nov. 21 in Brooklyn, Nov.22 in Manhattan, Nov.27 in the Bronx and Nov. 28 in Staten Island. New Yorkers interested in testifying can sign up to testify online or in person. Get more information about the location of each hearing and how to sign up to testify here.
[Via NY Daily News]
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