CHICAGO — Italian Americans came out in force in Little Italy Sunday in a show of solidarity following the removal of two Christopher Columbus statues in the city.
Demonstrators said what they want moving forward is a seat at the table when it comes to figuring out what the future holds for those statues.
“This is our history so much history so many memories,” Ron Onesti said. “Now it’s gone, taken in the darkness of night while so many fought to keep it here where it belonged.”
Some became emotional while speaking about a statue that has shown up in so many family photographs.
“Should this be taken as an insensitive slap in the face to all Italian Americans? Without a doubt,” Onesti said.
A statue of Columbus in Arrigo Park in Little Italy and another in Grant Park downtown were removed Friday, under orders from the mayor. This came a week after protestors who wanted the monuments taken down clashed with police.
Alderman Nicholas Sposato said he got a call Friday night, ahead of the statues being removed.
“Maybe the statue removed from the equation for now during this horrible time isnt such a bad thing after all,” Sposato said. “I know a lot of people are upset with the mayor; we did not lose this believe me, we won.”
While there is no word on when or if they’ll go back up, Italian American residents are now more focused on flooding the city with the Italian tricolor.
“We all remember 911 after that day red white and blue was everywhere; in a respectful sense this is our 911,” Onesti said. “As the dust settles on this craziness we demand to be invited to the mayor’s table to discuss ways of fostering our heritage.”