Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, October 13, 2020
In their effort to erase American history, the leftist mob has made Christopher Columbus a prime target.
Columbus Day is increasingly displaced by Indigenous Peoples Day. The woke cancel culture mavens have torn down 33 statues of Columbus.
Amid the Left’s onslaught, Italian-Americans are fighting to preserve the legacy of Columbus, Valerie Richardson noted in an Oct. 12 report for The Washington Times.
Columbus Day is still a federal holiday observed on the second Monday of October.
In July, five of the largest Italian-American organizations founded the National Columbus Education Foundation with the aim of “correcting the false narrative about Christopher Columbus.”
“Up until now, critics of Columbus have refused to have an open discussion and based their vitriolic attacks on one or two accounts of Columbus’ life written hundreds of years ago by people with their own agendas, and we think that ought to be corrected,” John Viola, the foundation’s executive director, said in a statement. “At this critical moment in American social history, if we really want to correct historical wrongs, then we can’t perform that delicate surgery by chopping at it with a blunt axe, and that is what is happening.”
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s service group, premiered Sunday “Courage and Conviction: The True Story of Christopher Columbus,” a 28-minute documentary narrated by actor Chazz Palminteri, which discusses the explorer’s “remarkable genius as a sea navigator as well as his deep desire to bring all nations to Christ.”
“Finally, the film addresses the current indictments against Christopher Columbus with boldness and exposes the motives behind the attacks of revisionist historians,” said a press release promoting the film. “Courage and Conviction shows why Christopher Columbus remains not only a man worthy of admiration, but a noble icon of what it means to be a Catholic and an American.”
In New York City, the Columbus Citizens Foundation replaced its annual parade with a “virtual parade” which included the unveiling of a statue of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, also known as Mother Cabrini, in Battery Park.
“I’m so happy that this day has finally arrived,” said the foundation’s chairman, Angelo Vivolo, as shown on WABC-TV. “Ordinarily, we would be marching in the joyful Columbus Day parade looking at the bands that play and floats that come up Fifth Avenue, but this year we’re celebrating differently. We’re celebrating our heritage by honoring a remarkable Italian woman of faith.”
In Chicago, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans replaced its parade with a scaled-down, socially distanced celebration that included a wreath-laying, car procession, Mass and “Proud and Positive” rally at Little Italy’s Arrigo Park, the former site of a Columbus statue.
“Why former? In July, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered three Columbus memorials temporarily removed for public safety reasons after protesters sought to pull down the statues,” Richardson noted. “In a melee that ensued at the statue in Grant Park, 49 officers and four demonstrators were injured.”
The Joint Civic Committee sent a letter Friday asking the mayor to restore the Columbus memorials, but Lightfoot said the city is taking an inventory of its monuments and studying “ways in which we can do a better job reflecting Chicago’s history.”
As rioting exploded across America this summer, 33 Columbus statues were pulled down or deliberately removed by local governments.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia now observe Indigenous Peoples Day or Native Americans’ Day along with, or instead of, Columbus Day, as do an estimated 130 cities, starting with Berkeley, California, in 1992.
Demonstrators held a march Sunday in Boston demanding that the city replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day and permanently remove the Columbus statue at Waterfront Park that was taken down after vandals beheaded it in June.
“City by city, town by town, Christopher Columbus has to come down,” the rioters chanted, according to WBUR-FM.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ben Walsh announced Friday that Syracuse, New York, would remove its downtown Columbus statue and rename Columbus Circle, where the statue has stood since 1934.
“This space should be both a tribute to Italian Americans and a place of healing at which we celebrate our shared accomplishments,” Walsh said in a statement. “This decision is based on the fact that we can honor our Italian American community without focusing on a statue that has become the source of division over decades and overshadowed the original intent of the monument.”
In Portland, Oregon, on Monday, rioters pulled down statues not of Columbus — who doesn’t have a public sculpture in Portland — but of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.