Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Debi Rose, Council Member Inez Barron, and Co- Chairs of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC), Council Member Adrienne Adams and, I Daneek Miller, today called for the removal of the Thomas Jefferson statue, located in the Council Chambers in City Hall. The Chambers are a place where the Council votes on bills to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and build a more just city. The statue of this well-known slave owner is a reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country. In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Council requests support for removal of the statue.
The letter is below.
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
In the last few weeks, New Yorkers have called on all of us in elected office to make bold change so that communities of color feel heard, protected and represented. The City Council is committed to creating true reforms to policies and policing that hurt Black New Yorkers.
But that is not enough. There are disturbing images of divisiveness and racism in our City that need to be revisited immediately. That starts with City Hall.
The statue of Thomas Jefferson in the City Council Chambers is inappropriate and serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country. It must be removed.
Jefferson is America’s most noted slave holder, a man who owned more than 600 Black women and men and a scholar who maintained that Blacks were inferior to whites.
The City Council Chambers is a place where we vote on bills to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and build a more fair and just city. It is not a suitable place for a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Keeping it in City Hall sends a terrible message to the people who are counting on us to work towards a more equitable New York City.
We urge you to support our efforts as we go to the design commission to expeditiously remove this statue.
COREY JOHNSON Speaker, DEBORAH ROSE Council Member, INEZ D. BARRON Council Member, ADRIENNE ADAMS Co-Chair, Black, Latino & Asian Caucus, I. DANEEK MILLER Co-Chair, Black, Latino & Asian Caucus .