NYC to remove statue of Thomas Jefferson from City Hall, claims it’s over past slave ownership

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And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – According to reports, public art officials in New York City voted to remove a 188-year-old statue of Thomas Jefferson from the City Council chambers at City Hall earlier in October.

The decision to remove the statue was reportedly influenced by the former president having once been a slave owner.

The New York Post was first to share news that the statue of Jefferson was potentially on the chopping block on October 13th, noting that the city’s Public Design Commission was looking to establish a “long term loan” of the sculpture to the New-York Historical Society.

The calls to have the statue of the former president first began circulating as early as June of 2020, with Councilwoman Debi Rose saying at the time that Jefferson’s “words are ‘all men are created equal’ but they were not matched by his action, which included the ability to sell, buy, mortgage and lease human beings.”

On October 18th, the city’s Public Design Commission voted unanimously to have the statue removed from the City Council chambers City Hall, but it’s now unclear where the statue will be moved to as there are concerns over the New-York Historical Society’s fees associated with housing the statue.

The statue may be moved to the Governor’s Room at City Hall, a tiny museum on the second floor immediately outside the Council chamber, or to the New York Public Library, which already has a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s handwriting.

The City Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian caucus released the following statement regarding the removal of the Jefferson statue:

“This Administration owes it to the more than five million New Yorkers of color our members – past, present and future – represent, to resolve that the individuals memorialized within the confines of our People’s House be reflective not only of the best traditions of our city’s history and its diversity but unquestionable character.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is on his last few months in office, commented on the divided opinions of the statue and former President Jefferson, noting that the man’s history is a “complex” one:

“The thing that is so troubling to people is that even someone who understood so deeply the values of freedom and human dignity and the value of each life was still a slave owner. And I understand why that profoundly bothers people.”

Both mayoral candidates, Republican Curtis Sliwa and Democrat Eric Adams, commented on the matter as well.

Sliwa finds the removal of the statue to be something akin to erasing history by holding a modern lens of morality to historical individuals who lived in quite different times:

“Do we suddenly wipe out the images, the markings, the names of all those great patriots because they were slaveholders and slave holding was quite common at that time?”

Democratic candidate Adams’ statement on the issue wasn’t one of exact denigration toward Jefferson, but he still approved of the statue’s removal:

“Our city’s statues and landmarks must be more representative of New Yorkers and New York’s history – particularly at City Hall. There are a number of appropriate figures to honor in our seat of government who are more directly meaningful to our people and are more reflective of our city’s history than Thomas Jefferson.”

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Sheriff calls bronze statue of predecessor ‘waste of money’ – that cost taxpayers $75,000

(Originally published August 24th, 2021)

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FL – After having served as the Escambia County Sheriff for 12 years, David Morgan wrapped up his third term in 2020 and since then, current Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons found out that his predecessor commissioned a life-size bronze statue of himself – at the cost of $75,000 in taxpayer money.

The new sheriff in town, however, says that this “waste of money” isn’t going up in front of the sheriff’s office, as former Sheriff Morgan had apparently planned.

Earlier in August, it was found that former Sheriff Morgan had spent $75,000 in taxpayer money before leaving office in December of 2020 to commission two life-size bronze statues, one of himself and another of a former sheriff’s office lieutenant beside a K9.

The payments were made to a New York-based company called Randolph Rose Collection Design Studio, which obtained records showed that former Sheriff Morgan submitted photos of himself in full dress uniform saluting and of that a former sheriff’s lieutenant standing next to their K9 German Shepherd.

The order for these bronze statues were made back in April of 2020, where former Sheriff Morgan paid for these out of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office general fund account and intended for these statues to be placed in front of the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Simmons says that he has “no intention” to have the former sheriff’s likeness cast in a bronze statue standing outside of the sheriff’s office:

“I have no intention of putting the statue of the former sheriff in front of this building or anywhere in this building.”

The new sheriff stated that he tried to cancel the payments for these statues after assuming office but was apparently too late. Overall, he finds idea of someone creating a statue of themselves to be a bit narcissistic:

“You don’t typically make a statue of yourself, and have the taxpayers pay for it. I think it’s a bit of a waste of money. That’s why I tried to cancel it whenever I first found it. I think it’s a bit brash. I think it has an air of narcissist to it.”

Apparently, locals in the county also see the crafted statue as a waste of money. One local, Bobby Spaeth, said the following about the matter:

“After learning that it was taken from the County money from the sheriff itself, I think that’s a little excessive.”

Another local, Marquita Woodroof, called the former sheriff’s action “irresponsible”:

“He was irresponsible. He was our sheriff for so long so he’s knows what’s going on in our County and for him to do something like that is just selfish. The money is spent and that’s just what it is. It’s wasted.”

The statue depicting the former sheriff’s lieutenant and K9 are generic enough, Sheriff Simmons says, that he may very well display them outside the sheriff’s office. But as for former Sheriff Morgan’s statue, Sheriff Simmons is considering to just have it melted down:

“Maybe we can melt it down and make use of it. But at this point that statue is not going to be erected here at the Escambia Co. Sheriff’s Office.”

According to reports, former Sheriff Morgan has come forward saying that he will personally cover the costs of the statue of himself – $37,500 – following the backlash from the community over the matter.

In an email sent to WEAR-TV Channel 3, former Sheriff Morgan wrote the following about why the statues were commissioned at the time:

“The statues were part of a general upgrade to the grounds of the ECSO. We also built an employee break area, fences, etc., as part of the project. The statues were to be placed by the Fallen Officer Memorial. This is a common practice at other sheriff offices, and at the FL Sheriff’s Association in Tallahassee.”

“But to assuage everyone’s concerns, I’ll be writing a check to cover the cost of ‘my statue, ‘ for $37,500.”

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Unidentified vandals decapitate statue of Virgin Mary, desecrate church and escape

(Originally published September 9th, 2021)

SCANDIANO, ITALY – Unknown miscreants vandalized a Catholic church in Scandiano, a town in northern Italy, destroying the tabernacle and beheading the Virgin Mary statue in late August, according to local reports abroad.

According to news outlet Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, the tabernacle was pried open, the sacred hosts were thrown on the floor, and the sacrosanct vessels and other furniture were demolished.

News outlet Reggionline, Guastalla Massimo Camisasca, the bishop of Reggio Emilia, personally conducted a special Mass in the damaged church of Ca’ de Caroli on September 5th, asking prayers for the unknown offenders’ repentance.

The bishop strongly deplored the vandalism but urged the whole Catholic community to offer forgiveness to those who were involved – a tenet associated with the faith. He did remind the congregation, however, that if the culprits were Catholic, such a desecration would inevitably result in excommunication under canon law.

Father Quirino Bertoldi, an elderly parish priest who was apparently shocked by the damage, saw a great show of support from the local community following the incident. On his Facebook page, Father Bertoldi shared a photo of the damaged Mary statue.

The sacrilege is thought to have occurred between August 29th and August 30th, but because the church lacks a video security system and is only open a few days a week, the incident wasn’t discovered until days after the suspected period of the vandalism.

Avvenire’s report on the incident also noted that the motivation was not likely linked to something as simplistic as a robbery; considering the incident’s “brutal fury,” it is more likely that it was motivated by a severe hatred for the church or religion overall.

No suspects have been identified as of this writing.

The incident in Italy is reminiscent of another similar act of vandalism that happened during the summer of 2020 in New York. 

Back in 2020, two statues depicting the Virgin Mary were vandalized in Queens, New York and Boston Massachusetts. The statue in Boston was reportedly vandalized on July 11th, while the one in Queens was said to have been vandalized on the 10th.

According to a Facebook post from the official account for the Boston Police Department, police were said to have responded to a fire reported around 284 Bowdoin Street in Dorchester at about 10:00 p.m. on July 11th, 2020.

When police arrived at the scene of Saint Peter’s Parish Church, they witnessed the statue of the Virgin Mary was set ablaze. According to the post, the following was stated about the sustained damage:

“Officers spoke with members of Boston Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit who stated that an unknown suspect had set fire to plastic flowers, which were in the hands of the statue, causing the face and upper body of the statue to be burned.”

Just the day prior to the Boston incident, the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens found itself spray painted with the word “idol” in the early morning hours of July 10th.

Security footage obtained shows an individual approach the statue at around 3:00 a.m. and commencing to apply the letters spray painted on the century-old statue.

Following the incident, the statue was restored to its former glory after work crews were able to clean off the spray paint applied.

Father James Kuroly, who serves as the rector and president of Cathedral Prep, was appreciative for the outpouring of community support in regard to the consensus of outrage with the vandalism:

“Obviously, this tragedy saddens us deeply but it also renews our hope and faith in the Lord as he has shown his goodness in the many people who have already reached out to us.

We are sincerely grateful for the help we have received as well as the prayers. Please continue praying for those who committed this act of vandalism and hatred toward Our Lady and the Church.”

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