CAMDEN, NJ – As the Black Lives Matter movement takes aim at statues around New Jersey, including those of Christopher Columbus, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy today said he would support the removal of statues and symbols that ran counter to the ideals of today’s society.
“I don’t know that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Christopher Columbus statues, but I do think symbols matter,” Murphy said at his daily COVID-19 press conference on Monday. “If symbols run counter to a society that works for everybody equally, then we have to take that consideration very seriously.”
Murphy said he discussed the matter at his dinner this past weekend with President Donald J. Trump, taking issue specifically with names of military installations and statues in honor of Confederate soldiers and generals during the Civil War. Across New Jersey, including Camden and West Orange, the man who “Sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492” is now viewed by residents in those cities as a reminder and symbol of oppression and hate. Camden has removed its statue of Columbus and West Orange has approved the removal of a statue.
Others see the removal of the statues as an assault on Italian-American heritage as Columbus is a revered icon in that community. Each fall, Columbus Day parades are held nationwide and many Italian American societies hosting those parades are being forced to renamed their events.
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