If you haven't been under a rock the past couple of weeks, you know that debating symbols of hate are all the rage these days.

Local NYC politicians are calling for the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue near the southwest corner of Central Park.

Leading the charge to remove the statue is City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who called the famous Italian explorer a "controversial figure" at a rally on Monday. 

Although Christopher Columbus is given credit for spearheading European exploration efforts into the Americas, some see his ventures in the Caribbean and beyond as harmful to indigenous populations.


And the Speaker isn't alone in her call to action. Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams also tweeted his support for the statue's removal from the aptly named Columbus Circle.

But not everyone agrees. The statue, gifted to the city by Italian-American immigrants in 1892 is still considered a source of pride for many today. John Fratta, chair of the New York State Commission for Social Justice, called the removal "a slap in the face to the Italian-American Community." 

It's all part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's 90-day plan to remove "symbols of hate" from city-owned properties.The initiative is looking at markers and monuments around the city in collaboration with relevant experts and community leaders, who will help establish the criteria.

Ultimately, defining those rules will decide whether the Christopher Columbus statue will be removed.

[Feature Image Courtesy Macaulay] [via Curbed New York]