Italian American Pride Banners Replace Columbus Statue — Without a Permit

Feb 12, 2021 712

BY: Heather Cherone

For Ron Onesti, the president of Chicago’s Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to remove the city’s three statues of Christopher Columbus after violent protests was a bitter pill to swallow.While most of the media attention focused on the city’s overnight removal of the explorer’s statue in Grant Park, Onesti found himself gutted by the removal of the statue from Arrigo Park in Little Italy.

“What was left was a gray concrete hole surrounded by a chain link fence,” Onesti said. “That was symbolically hard for our community to look at.” So Onesti took matters into his own hands, and ordered a dozen green, red and white banners emblazoned with the pictures of prominent Italian Americans — ranging from pop superstar Madonna to Antonio Meucci, the inventor of the telephone — underneath the phrase “proud and positive.”

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