Chirlane McCray, the wife of embattled New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, is taking heat for completely ignoring residents’ choice to erect a statue of an Italian-American icon and opting for more “diverse” women.
“A Bronx Tale” actor Chazz Palminteri called the city’s first lady a “racist” over the snub and urged his fellow Italian-Americans to speak out against the injustice.
According to The New York Post, McCray and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen asked the public to vote for influential women in the “She Built NYC” competition, with the intention of erecting statues in their honor. Mother Frances Cabrini, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, earned the most votes from city residents, yet was overlooked by McCray and Glen.
“Absolutely, she is being racist,” Palminteri said Friday on the “Bernie & Sid” radio program. “C’mon. As Italian Americans we have to speak up. If you’re an Italian American and you’re listening to us right now, and if you have any soul in you, you have to do something. Stand up and do something.”
“She has to have a statue,” he added. “This is strong, and we’re not going to stop until somebody rectifies the situation.”
The seven women ultimately chosen by the duo are mostly women of color — one of whom is a “self-described drag queen” — who traffic in left-wing causes like abortion “rights” and transgender and LGBTQ activism.
The Post reported:
Of the seven that were chosen, three are black — singer Billie Holiday, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and LGBTQ activist Marsha Johnson, a self-described drag queen who sometimes identified as a woman.
Two others being honored are abortion-rights activist Helen Rodriguez Trias and transgender advocate Sylvia Rivera — both of whom are Hispanic.
Rivera and Johnson are slated to share a monument in Manhattan.
One of the women being honored is Katherine Walker, who is white, and less “intersectional” than the other choices.
Phil Foglia of the Italian-Americans Legal Defense and Higher Education Fund joined Palminteri on-air on Friday; he’s also openly criticized McCray in the past.
“The People of NYC deserve an explanation for this arbitrary decision that flies in the face of the nominating process and this disheartening gesture of disrespect to the Italian-American community,” Foglia wrote in a letter last year over the snub, adding that it “can only be seen as an insult to Italian-Americans.”
McCray’s response to Foglia suggested the snub to Mother Frances Cabrini came because of past injustices to women of color.
The city’s first lady told Foglia that the iconic Italian-American “led a remarkable life” and “set an example of compassion and leadership that resonates powerfully today,” noting that “it will take many more years to correct centuries of neglect and the glaring gender and ethnic imbalance in our public spaces.”
A spokeswoman for McCray responded to Palminteri’s on-air remarks, calling them “ludacris” [sic].
“Chazz Palminteri’s statement is ludacris [sic] and those who would like the Cabrini statue are invited to meet with [Department of Cultural Affairs] Commissioner [Tom] Finkelpearl to learn more about the process,” spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said in a statement, the Post reported.