September 14, 2018
Hon. Joseph Curtatone
Mayor, City of Somerville
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
Dear Mayor Curtatone:
It is with profound dismay and disappointment that I learned of your city’s decision to observe “Indigenous Peoples Day” on Columbus Day this year. The Columbus Heritage Coalition, which I lead, feels your decision is terribly misguided and of particular concern coming from someone who is the son of Italian immigrants.
Somerville has now sadly joined other communities across the nation that have chosen to attack and demean the legacy of Christopher Columbus and to view historical events without proper context.
Columbus Day, a federal holiday, is a day of pride for millions of Italian Americans and should continue to be so. As the first immigrant to what became the Americas, Columbus should be celebrated and lauded for his accomplishments that opened up the New World to tens of millions of immigrants and their descendants.
We are particularly troubled by elected officials who participate in these negative, hostile, and counterproductive campaigns that wind up pitting one group against another. There is a better way.
On October 7th in Columbus Circle in New York City, CHC will be holding a news media briefing during which we will call for cities and towns across the U.S. to proclaim the existing “International Indigenous Peoples Day” as an official holiday each August 9th. This would allow our native population to celebrate their cultures in a constructive and positive way, and one in which all Americans can participate.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you.
The Columbus Heritage Coalition is a 501c4 organization supporting the celebration of Columbus Day, preserving public memorials to Columbus, as well as his legacy and historical significance.
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