East Harlem Preservation is pleased to announce that Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers have agreed with our call for the removal of the statue of J. Marion Sims from its location on Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street.
In 2010, East Harlem Preservation began its campaign to remove the monument honoring Sims—a white southern doctor who experimented on enslaved Black women without anesthesia or informed consent. The initiative was inspired by Author Harriet Washington, community activist Viola Plummer, and others who had called attention to Sim’s cruel experiments.
Throughout our campaign, we maintained that the statue’s presence did a great disservice to the neighborhood’s majority Black and Puerto Rican residents—two groups that have specifically been subjected to medical experiments without permission or regard for their wellbeing—and should be removed.
While we were disheartened to learn that the Sims statue is the only monument to white supremacy that will be removed in New York City, we’d like to acknowledge and thank members of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers for respecting the wishes of over 20,000 petitioners, neighborhood residents, and members of the Coalition to Remove the Dr. Sims Statue.
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Although the statue’s removal may be a symbolic gesture, it presents an opportunity to continue the dialogue on racism and violence against women of color that we helped initiate. We congratulate everyone involved in this effort and invite you to join us at an upcoming community dialogue on creating a new artistic vision for the site. Details to come.
Visit our website to learn more about the campaign.