Bye-Bye Columbus? Addio Italian Heritage Day?

 Statute of Columbus at the base of Coit Tower overlooking San Francisco Bay. Photograph by Aron Brand

On Tuesday, January 23, 2017, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve a proposal to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Tuesday's vote was 10-1, with Aaron Peskin the only supervisor to vote against it.

San Francisco Italian community leaders were shocked and surprised by this action, one that came with no prior warning, notification, or input from the Italian community. San Francisco Italian Athletic Club president, Guido Perego, is among the many that have rallied and mobilized a response to City Hall, including a meeting on February 1, presided over by Italian Consul General Lorenzo Ortona.  

Perego spoke to L’Italo-Americano saying, “The vote came as an insult and disrespect to the Italian American Community since San Francisco Bay Area Italians had already agreed to change Columbus Day to Italian Heritage Day 20 years ago. Italians have coexisted and shared our indiviual heritage cooperatively for decades, celebrating both the unique heritage of indigenous people alongside that of Italians.

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