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New Haven approves replacement for Columbus statue at Wooster Square

Plaque depicting New Haven's new Wooster Square monument
Ebong Udoma
Plaque depicting New Haven's new Wooster Square monument

New Haven, Connecticut's Board of Alders has approved a new monument to replace the controversial Christopher Columbus statue in its historic Wooster Square Park.

The city took down the Columbus statue two years ago in response to national protests over culturally inappropriate monuments.

“This has not been an easy process but you created space for a shared understanding of the injustices that impacted early immigrants from Italy. To fight for better inclusion and equity for all who chose to make New Haven their home,” said Mayor Justin Elicker, crediting New Haven’s Italian American community at a news briefing at the park on Tuesday.

“We are in a much better place two years later, than we were two years ago,” said Bill Iovanne, co-chair of the Wooster Square Monument Committee. His family has roots in the neighborhood.

Iovanne was upset when the city took down the Columbus statue two years ago. He’s pleased that the new sculpture is a befitting tribute to the city’s Italian American community.

“The father standing proud, his baggage in one hand and his infant son pointing to the new world in the other. The mother, the central figure of every family, standing with her arm gently draped around her daughter’s shoulder," Iovanne said describing the new monument.

The monument committee has started a fundraising campaign to raise the $300,000 it needs to commission the sculptor, Branford resident Marc Anthony Massaro, and erect the monument.

Iovanne said the hope is to have the monument up in about 18 months.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.