The New York City Department of Education has unilaterally decided to rename its Columbus Day holiday to “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day.” The New York Young Republican Club expresses unreserved disappointment and outrage with the Department of Education for its unjust assault on a holiday that has been celebrated in New York City (at first informally) as far back as the 18th century. Once again, politically motivated leftist city leaders have showcased their inability to understand and honor the nuanced history of America at the expense of millions of Italian-Americans in New York who observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage.
Christopher Columbus’ courageous voyage to the Americas initiated a cultural exchange where millions of immigrants brought with them contributions that helped shape the United States for centuries to come. Today, leftist revisionists have maligned his reputation in contravention of a fair reading of primary sources and the historical record. Columbus Day is an integral part of the American and Italian heritage, created to affirm the U.S. as a “nation of immigrants”. After Italian immigrants and their descendants faced severe discrimination in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Italian-Americans fought to establish Columbus Day as a federal holiday to celebrate the legacy and contributions of Italian-Americans nationwide.
Instead of focusing its attention on the ever-decreasing quality of New York City public schools, a cadre of cowardly, anonymous bureaucrats at the New York City Department of Education decided that their top priority out to be the implementation of a policy that needlessly slaps at the Italian-American community in the name of “social justice.” Even Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter and Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed surprised by the change, claiming that they were not in the loop. While it is exceptionally hard to believe that the higher-ups in New York City’s organizational chart were blindsided by this decision, the change highlights what we have known all along: the administrative Deep State, led by unchecked weak leaders, operates at all levels as an autonomous entity that does not answer to the body politic.
Leftist bureaucrats have mindlessly sown confrontation by pitting groups against each other while denying the American people a balanced reading of our history. New Yorkers have the capacity to engage in reasonable debate regarding aspects of historical figures’ legacies, but the leftists in government refuse to permit this lest the result not be to their political liking. Native-Americans, just like Italian-Americans, should have the right to celebrate their history and culture. However, replacing one holiday with another unnecessarily creates more tension and division.
Columbus Day is not only a day to honor and remember the Italian-American community’s achievements and contributions to American society, but also so much more; it reminds us of the success of immigrants who tirelessly petitioned their government for recognition. It also represents the importance of risk-taking and unwavering dedication that is at the heart of the American Dream.
The New York Young Republican Club calls upon the New York City Department of Education to reinstitute Columbus Day and to stop this appalling campaign to divide New Yorkers.