Town of Huntington officials said they have no plans — and won’t consider — removing the Christopher Columbus statue that has served as a gateway to downtown Huntington for more than 40 years.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), Suffolk Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, town board member Mark Cuthbertson, and veterans and Italian-American groups made the announcement Friday at the statue, at the intersection of Main Street and Lawrence Hill Road.
The officials said they felt the need to make a statement in light of calls elsewhere that Columbus statues be removed from public view because of the 15th century explorer’s actions after landing in the Bahamas and what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“Christopher Columbus is a symbol for the positive contributions Italian-Americans have made to this country for more than 500 years, and removing this representation of Italian-American pride would be a slap at all of the Americans of Italian extraction who have made our country what it is today,” Petrone said during a news conference at the statue.
Historians credit Columbus’ journeys with enlarging the known world and furthering an age of exploration, but also point out his poor treatment of indigenous peoples.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced last week that the town would welcome any Columbus statues that are removed by municipalities.