TRENTON, NJ – When asked last week, Governor Murphy said he’s not opposed to tearing down statues of symbols and individuals that some may find offensive. On Monday, he took his position further, suggesting that Italian Americans can find a way to celebrate their heritage without invoking Christopher Columbus or with statues of the famous Italian explorer.
“So on Columbus, I’ll go through in order. On Columbus, I haven’t given it — you know, I gave you a preliminary answer, or whoever it was, I think it was you who asked me this question,” Murphy said. “I’m of the opinion that you’ve got a couple of things that are running against each other here. Columbus Day has always been sort of an iconic day for the Italian American community and that’s something that Ms. Persichilli to my right will verify that.”
As for Columbus day and Italian-American festivals that surround the day, Murphy said Italians can do without.
“I think we have to acknowledge that and find a way to be able to both celebrate Italian American Heritage on the one hand, but also remove symbols that offend people,” he said.
Murphy went on to talk about how statues that offend people should be removed, but deferred that decision to the local municipalities.
“But by the same token, if there are statues, symbols that are offensive to folks, we have to have a reckoning with that. It seems to me there’s a way still to be able to do both, and I would suggest we leave it to the municipalities to make that decision,” he added. “I know there’s a statue, for instance, in New York City. That wasn’t Theodore Roosevelt in particular, but there was a depiction of a Native American and an African American that was particularly offensive.”