The wife of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will lead a “Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation” that will examine statues of historic figures including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
NY Post reports not even the Father of Our Country is safe.
First lady Chirlane McCray will put statues and structures honoring historic figures tainted by slavery — including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — under the microscope as part of a new “Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
Hizzoner’s move comes a day after five city lawmakers — including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson — sent a letter requesting the statue of Jefferson be removed from the council’s chamber, as leaders across the city and nation struggle to respond to weeks of protests over racism that followed the death of George Floyd.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that this new commissions needs to examine,” de Blasio told reporters during his morning briefing, announcing his wife’s latest assignment. “I think it is the time to evaluate the entire look and feel of this city and a commission that’s focused on justice and reconciliation can really think about a bigger approach.”
He added: “I’m going to charge them with that task.”
De Blasio said that would include examining City Hall’s statue of Washington and the name of the mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion, which was built and owned by a slave owner, Archibald Gracie.
When pressed by reporters, de Blasio acknowledged he was not sure how far the review should go, but said it was time to examine the “profound contradictions” of the city and nation’s forefathers.
“I don’t have a foregone conclusion for you now as to what names should be kept, what names should be changed,” he added. “But I think this commission is the right way to do it.”