Italian American organization files lawsuit against NJ city over Christopher Columbus statue removal
The Italian American One Voice Coalition is saying to towns across New Jersey - 'We'll see you in court' - after the removal of Christopher Columbus statues and monuments.
Andre DiMino is the head of the Italian American One Voice Coalition. He says leaders in cities such as Camden and Trenton, as well as town's like West Orange, caved to mob rule, using incorrect information about Columbus when they removed statues or monuments, like the one that was taken this past summer from the intersection of Valley and Kingsley streets in West Orange.
"West Orange is the first lawsuit that we're filing,” says DiMino.
The monument has stood since 1992. In June, there was a decision to remove the monument. Around 1,500 residents signed a petition in favor of its removal, coming just days after Camden got rid of its Columbus statue, and Trenton was talking about the removal of its statue.
“What we're talking about here is a violation of the 14th amendment because Italian Americans are a cognizable racial group under the 14th amendment and you can't discriminate for one ethnicity over another,” says DiMino.
"We really would hope that people would check the reputable facts and reputable sources about Columbus,” says DiMino. “All these atrocities that they are pinning on him are just not true. We would tell the mayor that he should reverse his decision with that statue back and honor the Italian Americans that find that statue to be so important."
DiMino specifically mentions the Howard Zinn book, A People's History of the United States, as a source of negative and misleading information concerning Columbus.
West Orange officials say Mayor Robert Parisi is reserving comment on matters of pending litigation and will not be granting interviews regarding the monument removal at this time.
The suit is filed in Federal U.S. District Court against the township.