Golden criticizes formation of city panel to consider removal of “symbols of hate” citywide

Following a statement by Mayor Bill de Blasio promising to form a panel tasked with reviewing and potentially removing “symbols of hate” on city property, State Senator Martin Golden has denounced the plan as “divisive and counterproductive.”

De Blasio first brought up the idea of the panel on Twitter on August 16, following a rally surrounding the removal of Confederate statues in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned violent on August 12, resulting in three deaths.

“America is a great nation built upon a foundation created by many ‘larger than life figures’ throughout our history. Often it is difficult to judge their contributions in a current context. Regardless, they have contributed to the greatness of our nation and are an important part of our past,” said Golden in a statement released on August 23. “The mayor’s panel may be tempted to base its decision to remove statues based upon current politics rather than historical significance. This methodology has the potential of being divisive and counterproductive.”

Prior to announcing the review panel, which will last for 90 days, de Blasio joined Ninth Congressional District Congressmember Yvette Clarke and other local pols in calling for the removal of street signs on Fort Hamilton Army Base named for Confederate Army generals.

 Photo courtesy of Senator Golden

Photo courtesy of Senator Golden

Golden went on to state, “I disagree with the creation of this panel and as a city we must proceed with caution. Instead of focusing on the removal of statues, let us engage in honest and open discussions, listen quietly and intently to opposing views, and finally, respect and acknowledge what unites us as Americans.”

This article originally appeared in the Brooklyn Reporter.