Italians don’t need Columbus

Mar 02, 2017 1231

Considering my obvious Italian surnames, it may come as a surprise to some people that I support the San Francisco Board of Education’s recent decision to remove Columbus Day from its October academic calendar. The day will now be designated simply as Indigenous People’s Day. Both names had apparently been on the academic calendar for some time. Many other school districts across the country have also dumped Columbus in favor of celebrating those who were here before he arrived.

I’m southern Italian and proud of it. I’m not proud of Columbus. Obviously, mine is not a unanimous opinion within the Italian/Sicilian community in this country. Especially not with the Washington D.C.-based Order Sons of Italy in America. In response to the elimination of Columbus Day, the organization’s Kevin Caira wrote to the school board: “For nearly a century, Columbus Day has been an opportunity for us to celebrate our ancestors and the struggles they overcame to assimilate into American Culture.”

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