U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) on Wednesday put forth a proposal to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth.
On Friday, following an outcry from the Italian American community, Johnson announced they were scrapping the plan, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
It’s a significant win for Italian Americans, who have watched in disbelief over the past few weeks, as protesters splintered away from a peaceful cause to go and topple Christopher Columbus statues.
It would be helpful if these misinformed individuals researched the fact that the Columbus holiday and monuments were specifically built to symbolize anti-discrimination during a time in the late 19th century when Italian immigrants were clubbed and shot to death in the streets of New Orleans and pushed to the fringes of society.
Johnson and Lankford rolled out their proposal as an amendment to bipartisan legislation introduced last month by Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas), who is leading the effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
We fully support a Juneteenth holiday, but not at the expense of our heritage.
Columbus’s journey launched 500 years of immigration to America, attracting peoples from throughout the world seeking a better life for their families — this is the spirit we champion and are fighting to preserve, and this is what the Columbus statues stand for.