NYC schools cancel Columbus for ‘Indigenous’ Day, adding Juneteenth as a new holiday
New York City schools have canceled the Columbus Day holiday, replacing it with an Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while also making Juneteenth a school holiday and getting rid of snow days altogether.
The city Department of Education called Oct. 11 “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the 2021-2022 calendar it posted on its website Tuesday, flagging the beginning and end dates for the school year as well as winter and spring recesses but not the big changes within in a tweet.
The move, which was announced, however, in a press release to education beat reporters, officially cancels for school kid recognition what remains a federal, state and city holiday on the second Monday in October — although the Indigenous Peoples’ holiday will give students and teachers the same day off.
NYC Councilman Joe Borelli slammed the cancellation of Columbus Day.
Councilmen Joe Borelli and Steve Mateo and U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis — all Republicans from Staten Island — blasted the apparently woke decision, which they said in a joint statement “came as a shock to parents.”
“There is nothing wrong with celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but doing so at the expense of a day that celebrates Italian American culture and history is downright insulting,” Borelli said. “Doing it under the radar only adds to the cowardice now regularly on display by the woke left.”
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 reconsider statues of historical figures who’s past included connections to slavery or oppression. Hizzoner specifically cited the Midtown statue of Columbus when announcing the commission, but the monument remains.
The initiative eventually morphed into an effort to install statues of women — further enraging Italian Americans when Mother Francis Cabrini was excluded despite having received the most support in a public straw poll.
Members of the Indigenous People’s Day New York City Committee celebrating on June 30, 2020.
Juneteenth became an official state holiday last year following the protests against the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd.
Dozens of cities and jurisdictions across the US, meanwhile, have ditched Columbus Day to honor Native Americans instead — following the lead of ultra-liberal Berkeley, Calif., which began observing the latter holiday in 1992.
Even more cities have scrapped Columbus from the landscape since last year — including Philadelphia, whose mayor announced plans to tear down a prominent statue of the explorer. The monument currently sits enclosed in a wooden box amid litigation against the decision to take it down.
City Council education committee member Robert Holden (D-Queens) called the DOE’s elimination of Columbus Day “a disgraceful insult to people of Italian American heritage.”
“I’m proud of my Italian heritage and the tremendous role Italian-Americans played in building this county and this city, while often facing terrible adversity and discrimination,” Holden said.
“There’s room to celebrate everyone’s heritage in this city.”