Preserve Columbus - The Hero

Christopher Columbus

 

In Response to the Philadelphia Mayor's Decision to Cancel Columbus Day

In a regrettable decision, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an Executive Order changing the Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day. ISDA National President Basil M. Russo also leads the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations.

By: Basil M. Russo

Dear Mayor Kenney, The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations is a coalition of the 50 largest and most influential Italian American organizations throughout our country.

On behalf of all of our member organizations I write to express our collective shock and indignation concerning your insulting and divisive Executive Order to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Columbus Day has a long and intimate history within the Italian American community.

Born as a result of the largest mass lynching in American history, when a mob of 5,000 people shot and lynched 11 Italian immigrants in New Orleans in 1891 for an alleged crime for which they had been tried and acquitted, the celebration of Columbus Day and the erection of Columbus statues began in earnest among Italian immigrants as a means of establishing a sense of dignity and self worth in a hostile and violent national environment.

Columbus Day serves as our community's day to acknowledge the hardships and sacrifices our parents and grandparents endured, as well as the day when we acknowledge the contributions Italian Americans have made to our great country.

You have arbitrarily chosen to rob our community of its day of celebration, ostensibly to promote the recognition of another group's heritage and contributions to our country.

The hypocrisy inherent in that decision is beyond description. Your decision to honor one group by denigrating the heritage of another group, clearly falls within the definition of the word "bigot."

Politicians, such as yourself, who are more than willing to sacrifice the truth for political expediency, shamefully create an environment of hostility and confrontation among groups, instead of working to establish a sense of mutual respect and cooperation among us all.

Sadly, that will be your legacy.

Our Stance

The Italian-American community has always supported the designation of an Indigenous Peoples Day as it is most rightly and most justly deserved, and we fully support peaceful racial justice protests that push for equality in the U.S.

What we won't tolerate is the agenda of those who want to rewrite our history, and in the process, diminish our traditions by targeting the 15th century explorer.



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