NYC schools try to save face with ‘Italian Heritage Day’ after dumping Columbus Day

Maybe they need to have explored this concept — and even checked with City Hall — earlier than shifting forward full sail.

As backlash over its previously unannounced decision to scrap Columbus Day snowballed Tuesday, the New York City Department of Education later stated it might now shut schools on Oct. 11 for “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day.”

“City Hall wants Italian Heritage Day and Indigenous People’s Day so no one is left out,” stated Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesman Bill Neidhardt as confusion reigned over the woke imbroglio.

Asked whether or not City Hall had been conscious of the choice to wipe Columbus Day from the college calendar, Neidhardt solely stated, “We do not agree with not including Italian Heritage Day.”

Education Department spokeswoman Danielle Filson informed The Post the calendar posted on-line Tuesday morning had been “updated” after initially referring to the vacation that after honored the Italian explorer solely as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

“Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day will celebrate the contributions and legacies of Italian Americans and recognize that Native people are the first inhabitants of the land that became our country,” Filson stated in a press release.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter attempted to quell at the outrage after the city dumped the Columbus Day holiday.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter tried to quell on the outrage after town dumped the Columbus Day vacation.

“By including these holidays on our calendar we are honoring the past, present, and future contributions of Indigenous communities and Italian Americans.”

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross additionally appeared to try and play cleanup, writing on Twitter that discussions about renaming the Columbus vacation started final yr, in an effort “to better reflect and honor more than just one person.”

“It’s now Italian Heritage/Indigenous People’s Day, honoring the contributions of Italian-Americans as well as our indigenous communities,” she wrote.

The retroactive nod to Italian heritage comes after politicians of Italian descent and advocates trashed the “woke” transfer to cancel Columbus, which they stated was an insult to their tradition and doable violation of their civil rights.

Bill de Blasio marches in the Columbus Day Parade in 2019.
Bill de Blasio marches within the Columbus Day Parade in 2019.
Gabriella Bass

The DOE backtrack to embody Italian Heritage didn’t appear to quell their considerations.

“It’s absolutely outrageous that the Department of Education did this, and I’m going to try to build a coalition to fight this,” stated US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Nassau), including that tacking on Italian Heritage Day simply “wasn’t good enough.”

“Columbus Day has been in place for a long, long period of time, and it’s important to Italian Americans who faced tremendous discrimination in this country,” he informed The Post.

Assembly Education Committee Chairman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx), stated the transfer was “offensive to me and all Italian-Americans.”

People take part in the Columbus Day Parade on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in New York, the United States, on Oct. 14, 2019.
Bill Neidhardt stated the Mayor’s workplace didn’t agree with eradicating Columbus Day from the college calendar.
Li Muzi/Xinhua by way of Getty Images

“I don’t know why they would so something like that. You’re diluting the meaning of the holiday,” Benedetto stated, including that “It’s equally offensive to indigenous people, who should also have a separate day of recognition.”

Councilman Bob Holden, a Queens Democrat, agreed that eradicating Columbus from the college calendar was “a slap in the face” to Italian-American New Yorkers, saying that the explorer “is a symbol of Italian heritage here in New York and around the world.”

“Italian American students are entitled to the same rights as other groups. These include the federally guaranteed right of equal protection,” Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Heritage Coalition stated following the preliminary information of Columbus Day’s cancelation.

“We reserve the right to defend our students and our culture in the courts and the ballot box in New York, where nearly 20 percent identify as having Italian racial heritage,” Vivolo stated.

The Italian explorer’s legacy has been hotly-contested in the Big Apple since Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a “Monuments Commission” in 2018 to rethink statues of historic figures who’s previous included connections to slavery or oppression. 

Dozens of cities and jurisdictions throughout the US have ditched Columbus Day to honor Native Americans instead — following the lead of ultra-liberal Berkeley, Calif., which started observing the latter vacation in 1992.

Additional reporting by Carl Campanile

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.