Why ‘Garibaldi Day’ should replace Columbus Day as an ‘Italian-American holiday’: columnist

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In heavily Italian-American areas of the United States — from Boston’s North End to the Italian Market in South Philly to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Manhattan’s Little Italy and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn — Columbus Day is a major event. Yet among some liberals and progressives, the movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day has grown in recent years.

Journalist Jonah Shepp, in an article published by New York Magazine on October 10, stresses that he understands both sides of the Columbus Day debate. He understands the disdain for Christopher Columbus among liberals and progressives, but he also sees the need for an Italian-American holiday. And the compromise he proposes is Garibaldi Day.

“Much of the pushback against Indigenous People’s Day has come from the Italian-American community, and while some of the loudest voices against the change carry an off note of racial resentment, they also reflect a legitimate underlying grievance,” Shepp explains. “To many Italian-Americans, canceling Columbus Day feels like canceling them and their history — and whether or not that’s true, it would mean abandoning a celebration of their role in the American story.”

READ MORE: Absolutely wrong’: GOP Senate candidate’s pro-Christopher Columbus rant ripped to shreds by scholars

Shepp suggests that “if we are to cancel a national holiday honoring Italian-Americans, we should replace it with another and name it after a more fitting, less problematic representative.” The journalist cites Galileo Galilei and Leonardo da Vinci as “Italian historical figures” but notes that they “lack the American connection.”

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