AOC protégé DeBarros’ support for Columbus statue removal faces backlash

A protégé of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running for Congress, supports removing the statue of Christopher Columbus from Columbus Circle — which could be a big problem for the district she wants to represent.

Brittany Ramos DeBarros wants to represent New York’s 11th congressional district, which includes all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn — and is home to one of the largest Italian-American communities in the country.

“It’s not in my district, so it wouldn’t be a top priority for me in Congress. but I support removing it [the Columbus monument in Columbus Circle] and I think it would be ideal to replace it with some sort of tribute to the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, or specifically the Lenape people,” DeBarros wrote in a support questionnaire for the Jim Owles Liberal LGBT Democratic Club.

Among other things, the club asked about political candidates seeking its support.

As with AOC, DeBarros, a military veteran, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Brittany Ramos DeBarross is based in New York’s 11th congressional district, which includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn and is home to a large Italian community.
Facebook/Brittany DeBarros

DeBarros’ top Democratic challenger is former Rep. Max Rose, who is trying to retake his old seat after losing to Republican Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis in the 2020 general election.

“I’m not in favor of removing the statue of Columbus,” Rose told the Post on Sunday. “It’s crazy that we’re even talking about this.

“Let’s talk about lowering inflation and increasing union membership instead of talking about statues,” he added.

Columbus statue
DeBarros says she supports the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus Circle, even though it’s not in her potential precinct.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The statue is something Rose and even Malliotakis seem to be able to agree on.

The incumbent also said DeBarros was not in tune with voters.

“The fact that Brittany Ramos DeBarros wants to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus from Columbus Circle is another example of woke politics gone wild,” Malliotakis said.

Ocasio-Cortez also told the Democratic club that it was time to cancel Columbus, the famous Italian explorer of the Americas, who is also despised for Native American brutality.

Columbus circle
DeBarros says she would like to see the Christopher Columbus statue replaced with a tribute to the Lenape people.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“It’s a decision that should be made by the community and I believe there is significant support for removing the statue from Columbus Circle,” AOC, which represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, wrote in the questionnaire.

But the head of a prominent local coalition of Italian-American groups slammed DeBarros for disregarding her Italian-American constituents, who revere Columbus as a symbol of Italian pride and culture.

“She insults the Italian-Americans in her district. Listen to your voters!” Angelo Vivolo, president of the Columbus Heritage Coalition and past chairman of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, which hosts the annual Columbus Day Parade, told The Post.

DeBarros is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Facebook/Brittany DeBarros

Vivolo last week raped Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), a fellow Italian-American running for Congress, for wanting to cancel Columbus. Biaggi said there were other Italian heroes better celebrated than Columbus.

Other politicians who told the Jim Owles Club that they support or are open to removing the Columbus monument include: Reps Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries; Jumaane Williams, public advocate and the city’s gubernatorial candidate; his lieutenant governor, Ana Maria Archila; State Sens. Jessica Ramos, Gustavo Rivera, Julia Salazar, Brad Hoylman and Jose Serrano, and Congregation members Harvey Epstein, Maritza Davia, Zohran Mamdani, Kenny Burgos and Emily Gallagher.

But Queen’s MP Alicia Hyndman said she was opposed to removing Columbus from the public square.

Brittany Ramos DeBarros
Angelo Vivolo, president of the Columbus Heritage Coalition, said DeBarros insults Italians.

“I know my opinion is probably in the minority, but these statues of oppressors must stay and have exact titles next to them of the atrocities they committed against tribal peoples. I don’t think we should erase history — we should learn correct history and put other statues next to those of the oppressors,” Hyndman said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul danced around the question in her response to the Allen Roskoff-led club.

“While Gov. Hochul believes New York’s rich Italian community should be recognized, it’s important to also celebrate Indigenous peoples and their place in history while acknowledging the scars their unjust treatment has left,” her said campaign in the questionnaire.

Brittany Ramos DeBarros
DeBarros is a military veteran.
Facebook/Brittany DeBarros

“In 2021, Governor Hochul signed a proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time in state history, and she will continue to take action to build trust between communities.”

Rep. Tom Suozzi, who is challenging Hochul in the Democratic primary, and his lieutenant governor, former Brooklyn City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, said they opposed removing the Columbus statue.

Either way, the debate could become contentious.

The Columbus Monument has been designated a State and Federal Historic Landmark.

But controversy still rages over other statues and naming conventions.

As The Post recently reported, the growing club of Cancel culture even endorses the name of flashy former three-year mayor Ed Koch of the 59th Street/Queensboro Bridge that connects Manhattan and Queens, claiming he didn’t do enough at the time to to combat the AIDS crisis in the city. AOC protégé DeBarros’ support for Columbus statue removal faces backlash


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