‘Basta!’: Italian-Americans get angry as Boston mayor abandons Columbus Day
Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey set off howls of anger when she unilaterally hit Columbus Day, replacing it with the politically correct “Indigenous Peoples Day”.
Janey brought about the drastic change via an executive order signed in front of members of the indigenous community, rather than pushing it through the democratic process of city council, Boston media sources report.
In Boston’s North End, a long-standing Italian-American community, local residents see Columbus Day as more than a long weekend. For them, Columbus Day is an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and their history in the United States.
The National Christopher Columbus Association, based in Washington, DC, has called this “a disturbing development in Boston.” A decree from the deputy mayor without any public comment.
New England’s Italian-Americans were also shocked by Janey’s decision.
“Columbus Day honors the Italian Americans who have made this nation great,” Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) told NHJournal. “To me it doesn’t make sense to skip Columbus Day. If anyone wants to create an Indigenous Peoples Day, go ahead, but don’t take away what Italian Americans have done for this country.”
During a debate on the issue last year, Ward 5 Alderman Anthony Sapienza explained that he would be proud to support the recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day, but on a day other than Columbus Day.
“However, in this case these people have come here and asked us to insult another group of people who already have a day that day they are asking and they should choose another day. Now we are celebrating many days in this city. We are a welcoming city. But what we haven’t done is we haven’t declared a day that has already been taken by a people and tried to give it to the people of… someone else. “
Sapienza said this is a unique situation because people who defend Indigenous Peoples Day also want to insult Italians. He said he had a big problem with it.
Columbus Day celebrates Christopher Columbus, an explorer of Italian descent who set sail for Asia in 1492 and landed in the Bahamas.
It is a federal holiday in the United States and has been celebrated nationally since 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Italian-Americans to participate in the festivities.
Many believe Harrison did it because after the lynching of 11 Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana, he wanted to ease tensions with Italian rulers.
There are more than 60 cities and towns in America that celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, according to indigènepeoplesdayma.org. Seven states also recognize Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day, including Maine and Vermont, according to the website.
In September 2017, the city of Durham became the first in New Hampshire to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. City councilors, however, did not replace Columbus Day.
City administrator Todd Selig told NHJournal that if Native Americans and Italians sit down, they will find they have a lot in common.
Selig acknowledged that when councilors first considered dropping the Indigenous Peoples Day vacation, they received complaints from Italians inside and outside the community.
Selig said Durham will be sporting an Indigenous Peoples Day flag at Durham Town Hall this year and people can snap a photo in front of him from the sidewalk if they want to recognize the day.
Italians are also welcome to celebrate their own heritage as they wish, Selig said. “It gives everyone a little something,” Selig said.
Selig says it’s time to ditch the idealized version of the Italian explorer.
“(Columbus) was a businessman at the time and he wanted to make money,” Selig said. “Upon closer examination, it turns out that he wasn’t quite the hero people claimed to be. He was, in many ways, the bad guy.
Francis Alexander Malofiy, who represents the Christopher Columbus Memorial Association, disagrees.
“I am proud to be the lawyer representing the Christopher Columbus Memorial Association,” said Malofiy during a debate on the removal of a statue of Columbus near Philadelphia last month. “Without Columbus, there is no New World, there is no America, there is no Declaration of Independence, Constitution or Bill of Rights.
“As a first generation American whose parents immigrated to the United States on a boat after their fathers were killed in World War II, I know the horror of war, the call for peace and rights in this country often taken for granted. The First Amendment protects our words, our thoughts, our feelings, our religion and our rights to disagree with our government and to petition it. And, the Second Amendment is there to protect the First. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, ”said Malofiy.
“Thank you, Christopher Columbus. “