Who helped decide the fate of the Columbus Circle Statue in Syracuse?

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh had the final say as to what would become of the Columbus Circle Statue, but in the weeks leading up to Friday’s decision a designated group put in long hours to try and find solutions.

The Columbus Circle Action Group met for two and a half hours once a week for eight weeks. Here are the members:

  • Haji Adan — Syracuse Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE)
  • Pastor H. Bernard Alex — Victory Temple Fellowship Church
  • Yaya Delgado — Henninger High School graduate trained in Action Group methodology
  • Hon. Joe Driscoll — Syracuse Common Councilor
  • Imam Mohammed ElFiki — Islamic Society of Central New York
  • Ocesa Keaton — Greater Syracuse H.O.P.E.
  • Greg Loh — Office of the Mayor
  • Betty Lyons — Onondaga Nation member
  • Rex Lyons — Onondaga Nation member
  • Fr. David McCallum, S.J. — Le Moyne College
  • Hon. Rita Paniagua — Syracuse Common Councilor
  • Richard Pietrafesa — Italian American
  • Nick Pirro — Columbus Monument Association
  • Lisa Sacco — Italian American and Mohawk Tribal member
  • Isaura Severino — Office of the Mayor
  • Joe Romano — Italian American
  • Fr. John Rose — Roman Catholic Priest (ret.)
  • Clifford Ryan — OG’s Against Violence
  • Asa Shenandoah — Onondaga Nation member
  • Cindy Squillace — NOON
  • Ralph Torillo, Sr. — Italian American
  • Gregg Tripoli — Onondaga Historical Association
  • Michael Vavonese — Italian American
  • Rabbi Daniel Fellman — Temple Concord

The group made recommendations to Walsh regarding the creation of an all-season, education and learning site at the downtown park space that has been home to a statue of Christopher Columbus since 1934.

Below is an interview with Ocesa Keaton and Rabbi Daniel Fellman, who worked with the group.


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