As Columbus Day parades were stepping off on Monday, a handful of Christopher Columbus statues were defaced on both the East and West Coast.
The first vandalism occurred in Providence, R.I.:
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) October 14, 2019
The second took place in San Francisco, Calif.:
Columbus statue vandalized: Red paint covered the face of the controversial colonist, while the base of the statue had graffiti that read, "Destroy all monuments of genocide and kill all colonizers." https://t.co/0chyLNKRdh
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) October 14, 2019
The third incident unfolded in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor:
Fake severed hands placed on Christopher Columbus statue at Baltimore’s Inner Harborhttps://t.co/4KOVba3TNf
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) October 15, 2019
The Italian-American community has always supported the designation of an Indigenous Peoples Day as it is most rightly and most justly deserved. We respectfully suggest the day after Thanksgiving, or August 9th (the day the United Nations has designated as Indigenous Peoples Day throughout the world) to be considered as alternate options.
What we don’t support is the political agenda or criminal acts of those who want to rewrite history, and in the process, diminish and distort our traditions by targeting Columbus Day.
A tradition of pride and unity
Columbus Day has become synonymous with Italian Heritage Day, the day when Italian Americans remember the sacrifices made by their parents and grandparents, and the contributions Italian Americans have made in the U.S.
The time-honored Columbus Day parades actually began in the late 1800s as Italian immigrants attempted to create a sense of self-esteem and dignity during a period where they were subjected to lynchings, bigotry and prejudice throughout the country.
A movement forward
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.
in 2017, ISDA Vice President John M. Viola — who, at the time, was serving as the President and COO of the National Italian American Foundation — wrote this op-ed in The New York Times, which reads in part:
“…Respect for historical monuments should not signify blind acceptance of the values and judgments of past societies; rather, they should be instructive tools in our quest to understand our history and use it to better meet the challenges of the present. If we allow uncontrolled tearing down of memorials or unilateral reinterpretation of American history, then we will be damaging our democracy by limiting vigorous debate on our history, with all its beauty and blemishes. In his first inaugural address at the onset of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to allow a national dialogue led by the “better angels of our nature.” I think his counsel remains as wise and essential today as it was then…”
To gain more insight on Columbus’s voyages and the misinformation surrounding his legacy, watch below: