Search This Blog

Monday, October 12, 2020

Goodbye, Columbus

Today is Columbus Day, which raises issues about federal holidays and monuments.

Grace Hauck at USA Today:
Many groups have called for the removal of monuments to Columbus, as well as to Confederate generals. Several Columbus statues came down this summer amid protests after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May and cries to end systemic racism.

Columbus, Ohio, named for the explorer, removed the Columbus statue outside City Hall. The city of Genoa, Italy, where Columbus was from, sent it as a gift 65 years ago. In Baltimore, protesters pulled down a statue of Columbus and threw it into the city's Inner Harbor on the Fourth of July. And in Chicago, officials "temporarily" took down two statues of Columbus after dozens were injured in a clash between protesters and police at one of the monuments.

Chicago's Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans plan to hold an outdoor rally at one of the former sites of a Columbus statute – now a pedestal surrounded by chain-link fence – on Monday after Chicago's Columbus Day Parade, like many across the nation, was canceled this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our Italian American community is excited to recognize an important tradition it has practiced for generations," Sergio Giangrande, president of the Joint Civic Committee, said in a statement. "Even though this year’s parade has been canceled due to COVID-19, we still want to perpetuate the holiday in a very respectful, yet effective way. Masks and social distancing will definitely be a priority."

More than 16 million people in the USA – nearly 5% of the population – reported Italian ancestry in the Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey.