Statement on PDC Vote to Delay Removal of City Hall Thomas Jefferson Statue


“We are deeply disappointed that the Public Design Commission voted to prolong the indignity of having the statue of Thomas Jefferson – a founding father who also holds the dubious distinction of profiteering from the more than 600 human beings he owned as chattel, forcing himself upon a captive Sally Hemmings against her will, and being a white supremacist – lord over our members as they conduct the People’s business on behalf of more than five million New Yorkers of color, who themselves do not measure up to Jefferson’s own standards of liberty and equality, as his own personal correspondence suggests. The failure of the PDC to immediately recognize the symbolism of acting decisively to expel his likeness from Council Chambers in order to demonstrate its appreciation for the overriding need to amend the historical record of America’s founding so that it accurately reflects the roots of its origins in the original sin of human slavery is an affront to the entire city. Moreover, we are equally dismayed that the PDC commissioners themselves were so poorly prepared to resolve an issue that was first raised in objection by our Caucus two decades ago, and most recently with this Administration over the last two years, which in the era that we are currently living hardly requires any clarification or additional research to determine that Council Chambers is not an appropriate venue for providing the context this unwanted symbol of his likeness so desperately requires. We along with our allies will continue to press the need for swift action to remove the indelible stain of Thomas Jefferson’s sordid history of human bondage – and its influence on his successors in purging the civilizations of our indigenous peoples – from the confines of the People’s House in this day and age.”


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