Decision Maker Response
Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo’s response
Jun 30, 2020 — I learned this morning about a petition seeking the removal of the Christopher Columbus monument that rests immediately in front of the Scotch Plains Municipal Building since 1998. I admit having mixed feelings about its removal. I remember being taught that “Columbus discovered America” and have celebrated Columbus Day every year. It cannot be denied, however, that what we once learned in school omits hard truths about human history. In this case, there is compelling evidence that Columbus’ exploration resulted in the deprivation of human rights for many. It is a compelling question whether to honor individuals who lived long ago and may not have acted justly according to the standards of today.
Last Columbus Day, I listened as Paul Raphael, president of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood chapter of UNICO, shared “I'm sure Columbus had his faults, as we all do, but he lived in a different time and in a different world… to me, Columbus represents the values of discovery and risk that are at the heart of the American Dream." I expect that many residents feel similarly.
It is for these reasons that I have asked that our next Town Council meeting, on July 21, 2020, include a discussion about the Columbus monument. I hope that residents with distinct viewpoints participate.