A group of Italian-Americans fight to maintain Columbus Day in Philadelphia


Columbus statue

Italian-Americans in Philadelphia usually gather at this statue of Christopher Columbus to celebrate a male-inspired federal holiday.

A group of Italian-Americans filed a proceeding in Philadelphia after the mayor replaced Columbus Day’s holiday with Indigenous Day.

It has been officially observed since 1937 and commemorates Christopher Columbus, who landed in the Americas in 1492.

Federal proceedings claim that the switch is one of several “continuous, relentless, deliberately discriminatory acts” against Italians.

The mayor dismissed the proceeding as a “political ploy.”

Columbus’ complex heritage has led to calls to cancel holidays.

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage, in 1992, Berkeley, California, celebrated the European colonization of North America and its impact on Native Americans and their culture, making it “Indigenous Day.” Declared.

Since then, 14 US states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 cities have followed, celebrating October 12 as a day to celebrate Native American heritage.

A 36-page proceeding filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Tuesday acted “unilaterally” when Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney chose to rename the holiday in January this year. Is accused.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers told CBS News Philadelphia that it was intended to be a “power check” in the mayor’s office.

In their dissatisfaction, Italian-American members of the Presidential Conference, the 1492 Association, and the Philadelphia City Council of major Italian-American organizations said: Instead, to uplift another ethnic group. “

The proceedings require that the name change be invalidated, but it also makes some unexpected claims.

One allegation made without evidence states that persecution of Italian-Americans was increasing “at a level not seen since the 1920s” when the United States set quotas for the influx of Italian immigrants. ..

The mayor also claims that he is “definitely obsessed with Italian-American prejudice,” noting his role in removing the statues that are the centerpiece of the Columbus Day festival.

In a statement to CBS News Philadelphia, Mr. Kenny dismissed the proceedings as “apparently useless political tactics.”

Philadelphia is not the only city working on fallout related to historic renaming.

The San Francisco Board of Education has withdrawn the decision to remove the names of historical figures currently considered controversial, such as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, from public schools.

The plan was criticized for being overkill and relying on inaccurate Wikipedia research, but the board said it would revisit the proposal when students returned to the classroom full-time.

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