This Wednesday, the City Council of Los Angeles voted to erase Columbus Day from the city calendar in a show of solidarity with activists who see the historic explorer as leading figure in the genocide of Native Americans, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Going forward, the second Monday of October will commemorate “indigenous, aboriginal and native people” and will still remain a paid holiday for city employees. Italian American groups objected to the change, saying it erases part of their heritage.
“On behalf of the Italian community, we want to celebrate with you,” said Ann Potenza, president of Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California, while speaking in a room packed with Native American activists. “We just don’t want it to be at the expense of Columbus Day.”
From the LA Times:
Wednesday’s debate had been driven by two men with different visions of how to replace Columbus Day. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation tribe in Oklahoma, pushed for Indigenous Peoples Day, arguing such a move would provide “restorative justice.”
Councilman Joe Buscaino, a first-generation Italian American raised in San Pedro, had sought to replace Columbus Day with a different name, one that celebrates “all of the diverse cultures in the city.”
“This gesture, of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends,” said Councilman Mike Bonin.
Featured image via Flickr