Italian-Americans in Bridgeport demand return of Columbus statue to community park

Members of Bridgeport's Italian-American community called on the city Sunday to return the Christopher Columbus statue that was recently removed from Seaside Park.
A majority of city council members have signed a resolution making that request.
"We've put forth a resolution demanding that the mayor put the statue back up," said Mike DeFilippo.
The monument was quietly removed two weeks ago amid national controversy over the role of Columbus in history.
Chris Caruso, of the Council of Italian American Societies of Greater Bridgeport, says history is being unfairly rewritten to cast Columbus in a negative light to fit a modern-day agenda, creating what he calls "a false and deceptive narrative inconsistent with historical fact."
"It was the 15th century. You can't compare a 15th century explorer with 21st century standards. It just doesn't work," Caruso said.
However, a group of residents who do not want the statue returned are just as passionate. They call Columbus "a criminal."
"He was a murderer, he was a rapist, and he eliminated indigenous people, and so we feel that to celebrate him and have a statute here is a slap in the face to all Black and brown people in this community," said Imman Lyle Hassan Jones.
"This is not a war against the Italian community. We would love to continue to talk with the Italian community, but right now, we want this statue to stay away from Seaside Park. It just doesn't belong here," said Jorge Cruz.
The Columbus pedestal may be empty, but the air around was full of angry words, with neither side backing down.
"You know, a mob is working to rid the city of Christopher Columbus and the statue, statue, so we decided we're the firewall here in the state of Connecticut. We're not going to let that happen," Caruso said.
"They've been the louder voices, alright? Those who are in opposition, so it's time for us now to take a stand and speak up and speak out about what is happening to our people in this city and in this country," said Pastor William McCullough.
Caruso said in order to have a constructive dialogue, which he's calling for, the statue must be returned.
Meantime, the city council is waiting for the mayor to call a special meeting on the topic.