The following statement was released by the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus regarding the removal and relocation of the Thomas Jefferson statue from City Hall:
“For the first time since Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. became the first Black New York City Council Member in 1941, and forty-seven years after Mary Pinkett was elected the first such woman member in 1974, our Caucus entered Council Chambers to conduct the people’s business free of the spectre of Thomas Jefferson.
“This occasion serves as a long overdue affirmation of our sovereignty in deciding what symbols and imagery are worthy of prominent display in the place where we work to serve the interests of more than 8 million New Yorkers, including over five million New Yorkers of color.
“For those of us who are descendants of the African diaspora or empathize with America’s Indigenous Peoples, the statue’s presence amounted to little more than a taunt. Finally, after being saddled for two decades with the unwelcome burden of providing context to Thomas Jefferson’s dueling legacies as a Founding Father and practitioner of chattel slavery, that responsibility now resides, appropriately, with the New York Historical Society.”