Letter to the Editor: In Support of Columbus Day

April 13, 2021

Submitted by Andrew Iliano

As an Italian-American I am all too aware of the unrelenting attacks Columbus Day undergoes yearly.   While several books have been published by scholars either countering the attacks on Columbus (ex “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem” by Carol Delaney), or proving Howard Zinn wrong (ex: “Debunking Howard Zinn” By Mary Graber) and fact based websites have been created to educate the public (ex: KnowColumbus.org), these attempts have done little to relent the attacks on Italian-Americans.  Yes, I said attacks on Italian-Americans, not Columbus.

Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage and contributions made to this country. From the many Italian explorers that came after Columbus to map out the Americas, to Filippo Mazzei’s inspirational words that helped shape our constitution, that “All men are by nature equally free and independent”, to the works of Constantino Brumidi whose paintings beautify the Senate and House Chambers and the Capitol Building’s rotunda, to the Piccirilli brothers who carved the “Seated Lincoln” in Lincoln Memorial, to Amadeo Giannini who found Bank of America, to Enrico Fermi who was the first to split the atom at Columbia University and lead the Manhattan Project, to Antonio Meucci the true inventor of the first telephone, and other contributions that are too countless to list in this letter, one thing is evident: Throughout history Italians have made great contributions to America and the world!

And now our one-day to bring these accomplishments to light, and celebrate our heritage with pride, is being taken away from us every year. It is obvious that when people call to abolish Columbus Day it is an attack on Italians, our culture, our heritage, and all contributions made by our immigrant forefathers.  How can it not be?   It’s not like they’re asking to rename the day Italian Heritage Day.  No, they’re taking the day completely away from us and this is nothing short of discrimination!

Fact is scholars have proven that Christopher Columbus is accused of crimes committed by his political adversaries and actions of leaders that came after him. Historical research shows that Columbus advocated for the rights of Indigenous People and punished his own men when they committed crimes against the Natives.  Time and again writings show that Columbus hoped to peacefully convert Native Americans to Christianity through teaching and peaceful means. By Papal law, once people converted to Christianity they could not be enslaved so how could he possibly have intended to pursue slavery?  Yet it seems the flames of uneducated riotous mobs continue to dictate the course of this country as they strong-arm leaders to capitulate to their zealous screams and unjustly take this day of recognition away from Italian-Americans by slandering Christopher Columbus!

A vote for Columbus Day is a vote for education, a vote for truth, and a vote for the Italian-American Community.  Native American Heritage Day is Nov 26, 2021. November is Native American Heritage Month.  Globally Indigenous People’s Day is recognized as August 9th.  As Italian-Americans, we ask only for ONE day to celebrate our heritage and contributions.  Are we not worthy of that?

For your convenience, I’ve included the below links to scholarly resources so you can continue your education on Christopher Columbus and see through the lies being perpetrated against the Italian-American community. Please do not turn your backs to these truths:

And many more… http://www.columbusthetruth.org/links.htm

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Joseph R Piantedosi
May 1, 2021 1:02 pm

Andrew thank you for your letter and providing all of these links that illustrate that the attacks against Christopher Columbus are based on false information including some of the language in article 34.

Dave Aldorisio
April 17, 2021 4:33 pm

As an Italian American I agree completely with what the writer of this piece stated!! This PC baloney has gone way too far Columbus was a great man and deserves a holiday to celebrate his accomplishments and the accomplishments of all Italian’s !! The left is out of control and their hate of America and trying to tear down what this nation stands for and its greatness has got to stop!!!!!

April 14, 2021 11:23 am

America was mapped out prior to columbus “discovering” the new world. Also columbus wasn’t even italian american. You may not be aware but America, the country you currently live in, was founded in 1776. If you want to celebrate a rapist I feel like that can be done on your own time.

Dan A.
April 14, 2021 10:37 am

Maybe “Yet it seems the flames of uneducated riotous mobs continue to dictate the course of this country as they strong-arm leaders to capitulate to their zealous screams…” isn’t the most helpful rhetoric to use if you’re looking for a fact-based discussion on the merits of celebrating Columbus?

April 14, 2021 9:52 am

As a young woman of ItalianAmerican heritage, (maternal side, Puglia), I ask that this writer’s opinion not be used to represent all Italian Americans, as we do not require “Columbus” to express pride in our heritage. Indigenous peoples of America are in much more need of recognition. I support Indigenous peoples day wholeheartedly- -it is the ethical choice. Perhaps Italians can have their own day separated from the legacy of Columbus- I certainly would prefer that. Or visit the North End in Boston anytime. There are many ways to express your pride. Though Italian immigrants had perhaps a rough start in America, they now are a dominant group in the Northeast especially. It is time to move forward and reach out and not think only of ourselves. Let us not be regressive as the rest of the world progresses … can we open our eyes to see beyond the current dominant groups/ hegemony? It does not mean forgetting our individual heritages. Let us not create a bad name for ourselves as Italian/Americans as backwards and racist– but rather show we can be compassionate and conscientious towards all.

April 14, 2021 4:52 pm
Reply to  Valeria

“…separated from the legacy of Columbus-”

Don’t worry, Valeria, I will still consider you all racists (your term). That Columbus story is the story of us as well- our legacy and our ancestry. Those of us from the Caribbean that are of mixed descent and considered by today’s terminology the ‘brown ones’ (like myself) are being denigrated by public calls just as what you wrote with your commentary. Columbus Day was our day as well, as a matter of fact the U.S. Government (that still owns us as a colony) took that holiday away from us back in the 70’s. And that is of our culture.

When you talk about distancing yourself from that history, you are degrading us by saying our story is dirty and beneath yours, when we are just as equal as yourself so we have the right to defend our roots regardless of what happened in the past. I am not going to let you denigrade my great-grandgrandfather for what what he supposedly did to my great-grandgrandmother (who has Indigenous roots as well). They married and that’s why I exist today. Where is our recognition you purpot to give us? Why don’t you all let us tell our story instead of interfering with us, most Italian-Americans are doing so right now and forget that we still exist- just as your government still forget about us as much backward and regressive as you complain they are.

Eduardo Savoa
August 8, 2021 11:41 pm
Reply to  Valeria

This has nothing to do with whether or not you think Columbus should be celebrated; it has to do with the lies and misconceptions of his character.

Karen Moore
April 14, 2021 8:51 am

Well stated and very true. As an Italian American I am heartbroken that my heritage is being taken away as well. I second that “ A vote for Columbus Day is a vote for education, a vote for truth, and a vote for the Italian-American Community”

Meighan Matthews
April 13, 2021 9:10 pm

“As Italian-Americans, we ask only for ONE day to celebrate our heritage and contributions.” If there were a national holiday celebrating the heritage and contributions of every large group of immigrants in this country the US would no longer be able to exhaust its citizens with a 50 week/year work schedule. Columbus Day is not about celebrating Italian heritage. It is about celebrating white Europeans’ near annihilation of the native people of this land, their way of life, and environmental resources. By changing the name of this day of rest, we take one small step toward truth-telling and repentance.

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