Mayor de Blasio doesn’t have time to debate the importance of America’s first saint.
“I want us all to start thinking about how people talk about things in this city and how much time is wasted on the wrong things,” de Blasio said on WNYC Friday morning about the controversy over Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants who founded 67 charities in the late 1800s.
De Blasio also refused to comment on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Columbus Day that the state would fund a Cabrini statue.
“I’m just not going to get lost in this,” de Blasio said.
“It’s just not pertinent. What’s pertinent is we are trying to honor the majority of New Yorkers who are women and actually bring their history to life in this city and we’re going to keep doing that and there’s going to be more ahead and I think Mother Cabrini is someone who should be honored and we’re going to make sure it happens,” he said.
A group controlled by the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, nixed the revered Catholic icon in favor of other historic women for the first round of female statues that will be erected in the city as part of the She Built NYC project.
The She Built group asked for nominations from the public and Cabrini was the top vote-getter.
But McCray and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen ignored the poll and made the final call, selecting jazz legend Billie Holiday, desegregation activist Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Latina doctor Helen Rodriguez Trias and LGBTQ advocate Sylvia Rivera, who described herself as a drag queen.
Shirley Chisholm, America’s first black congresswoman; Katherine Walker, who saved at least 50 victims of shipwrecks and boat accidents as keeper of the Robbins Reef Lighthouse; and Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender activist involved in the Stonewall uprising will also get statues.
De Blasio claimed on WNYC that “there was never a vote there was never a public process where we said were going to have a vote and whoever gets the most vote wins it was never anything like that.”
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