Today is Columbus Day, Not Indigenous People’s Day.
It is a day to celebrate the achievements of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Western Hemisphere from the European perspective — a discovery that changed the course of human civilization forever. No rational human being should have anything against Indigenous People having their own day. However, it can be any of the other 364 days on the calendar. The second Monday in October is reserved to commemorate the date on which Columbus made landfall in what is now the Bahamas.
Yesterday, hundreds of Philadelphians, many of them of Italian heritage, lined down South Broad Street to watch the city’s annual Columbus Day parade. Entertainer and radio show host Joe Piscopo was the grand marshal of the parade. It was a rainy, dreary day, but it might have been the most important Columbus Day parade in the city’s history. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has launched a war against Columbus stemming from socialist Howard Zinn’s model of American history. He’s blasted Columbus as a symbol of systemic racism.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has launched a war against Columbus stemming from socialist Howard Zinn’s model of American history.
First, Kenney had the Columbus status boxed up under the frivolous claim that it was causing violence to the city. Second, he signed Executive Order 2-21, which officially changed the city’s celebrated holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
“We hope that for our employees and residents of color, this change is viewed as an acknowledgment of the centuries of institutional racism and marginalization that have been forced upon Black Americans, Indigenous people, and other communities of color,” Kenney said in a statement at the time. “At the same time, we are clear-eyed about the fact that there is still an urgent need for further substantive systemic change in all areas of local government.”
Kenney’s move was nothing more than his continued pandering the perceived wants of black Philadelphians, as interpreted by white progressives. That’s why you notice Kenney lists black Philadelphians first, while the criticisms of Columbus focus on his treatment of Native Americans. This is despite Columbus having nothing to do with the mass import of black African slaves to America. In fact, Columbus Day was established in response to racist mass lynching against Italians — the largest mass lynching in our country’s history.
The 15th century was a brutal period in human civilization. Many examples of brutality people cited to cancel Columbus were being done by civilizations all throughout the world — including by Native Americans. So, what’s the message here: genocide, enslavement and brutality are wrong if perpetrated by Europeans?
The past weekend revealed the depths to which the Kenney administration is willing to sink to cancel Columbus. On Friday morning, Judge Paula Patrick of the Court of Common Pleas ruled that the box around the Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza should be removed right away. The Kenney administration immediately challenged the appeal.
“Removing the plywood covering during this holiday weekend would pose a serious public safety risk,” added the Kenney Administration in a statement to NBC10. And who would be posing that risk to the public, exactly?
Late Saturday night, after the city filed an Emergency Application to reinstate the stay of the box, the Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of the Kenney administration and overturned Patrick’s ruling. The box remained in place for the Columbus Day parade.
Check out this series on Christopher Columbus by Robert Petrone.
“We cannot, and have no intention to, remove the box at this time,” said acting Philadelphia Communications Director Kevin Lessard on Friday. “We continue to believe it is in the best interest and public safety of all Philadelphians that the statue remains secured in its box.”
This is nonsense. I grew up six blocks away from where the statue is located. I played in the park many times as a child. Not once was the statue ever a safety risk to Philadelphians. The statue only became an issue in the summer of 2020, when a radical mob comprised mostly of white people tried to tear it down in the name of a national “reckoning on racial justice.” The city did nothing to stop them. Then, and only then, my neighbors took it upon themselves to guard the statue to ensure it stayed standing. The citizens guarded the statue because the Kenney administration allowed and enabled criminals.
Attempting to establish the second Monday as Indigenous People’s Day is an affront to Italian Americans. It should also be affront on every patriotic American as well. Columbus’ discovery changed the world. That is what we honor. That is what we celebrate.
Chris Tremoglie has been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, and National Review. He recently completed his honors thesis on “Did Glasnost and Perestroika Cause a Rise in Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Soviet Balkans?” @cwtremo.