‘The whole process was a charade…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) New York City‘s first lady, Chirlane McCray, snubbed the public’s top-two choices for new statues of women as part of “She Built NYC,” a program designed to equalize the number of male and female memorials in the city.
McCray asked citizens to send in seven suggestions for women whom the city could memorialize, the New York Post reported.
The program received 1,800 votes for 320 different women. McCray established a panel to sift through the responses, gather vote totals and make recommendations.
Francine Xavier Cabrini, America’s first saint, known for her work helping poor immigrants, received the most votes with 219.
Journalist Jane Jacobs received 93 votes, putting her in second place.
“The whole process was a charade,” panelist Harriet Senie said.
McCray admitted as much in an interview with NBC, declaring that she did not feel “represented” and decided to select other women.
“Growing up as an African American woman, I didn’t see anyone who represented me in media or popular culture, even though women make incredible contributions,” first lady McCray said.
None of the seven women that McCray picked were in the top seven places in the city’s poll, the New York Post reported.
McCray selected “jazz great Billie Holiday, desegregation activist Elizabeth Jennings Graham, abortionist Helen Rodriguez Trias, LGBTQ advocate Sylvia Rivera, as well as 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.”
Rev. Guy Sbordone, who leads the St. Francine Xavier Cabrini Church in New York City, said his parishioners are “very disappointed,” The New York Post reported.
“People were a little taken aback, and rightfully so,” he said. “They’re thinking about their vote and what it meant and why it isn’t being honored.”