Some Maryland Lawmakers Call for 24/7 Protection of Controversial Statues

    Amid a movement to remove monuments to historical figures with ties to slavery or other persecution, some Maryland Republicans are asking the governor and Baltimore’s mayor to protect vulnerable statues in the state.  In recent days, some controversial statues across the Washington, D.C. area have been vandalized and some pulled down.

    Republican state Del. Nino Mangione (R-Lutherville) stood in front of a statue of Christoper Columbus in his constituency of Baltimore City on Friday, calling on Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young to protect the statues’ “iconic status”.

    “If you don’t like or appreciate Christopher Columbus, don’t visit this statue. Stay the hell away from it,” he said at a press conference.

    Columbus has been heralded as the discoverer of America in 1492, but his legacy has undergone greater scrutiny in recent decades, with a number of localities across the U.S. moving to rename Columbus Day in October to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

    Mangione joined Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Kingsville) in asking for round-the-clock protection for the historical statues they say are under threat of being vandalized or destroyed.

    Italian Heritage Festival Chairman John Pica joined the call for protecting the Columbus monuments, sharing the sentiment that they represent the contributions generations of Italian-Americans have made to the city, state and nation.

    Since the Minneapolis police-custody death of George Floyd last month, there’s renewed interest about what is memorialized and honored across the U.S.

    The Confederate battle flag has long been used to represent southern heritage, according to the Anti-Defamation League, but also is used as a symbol of racism and white supremacy.

    As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Megan Cloherty. Click here for the WTOP News website. We thank The Associated Press for its contribution to WTOP’s original story.