San Jose says goodbye to Columbus Day

After much public outcry, San Jose sent a statue of Christopher Columbus from his place in City Hall. This year, the San Jose City Council further distances itself from the troubled Italian explorer by essentially giving the shoe to the holiday that bears his name.

Mayor on Tuesday Sam Liccardo and the council issued a proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in San Jose next Monday, October 12th. The Columbus Day holidays are officially still on the books and city workers still have days off, but San Jose doesn’t recognize him by name, which it has for the past few years.

“We should reserve city breaks for those whose lives represent the values ​​that we can adopt together,” says a memorandum jointly drafted by Liccardo and the vice mayor Chappie Jones. “Let’s leave the rest for the history books.”

Liccardo, whose ancestry is partly Italian, hopes to find a thoughtful way on different days to honor both the indigenous people of the Santa Clara Valley and the heritage of Italian Americans. Zulma MacielThe director of the city’s newly established Office for Racial Justice and her staff will meet with both communities and return to the city council next year with a recommendation.

The proclamation, which was signed by all eleven members of the council, was released during the city council’s online session on Tuesday. She joined 10 states and hundreds of cities and counties in the United States that dropped the Columbus Day holidays. Liccardo admitted that indigenous tribes like the Muwekma Ohlone called the valley their home long before the arrival of European settlers.

“In contrast to the actions of the federal government in the 1920s when historians were essentially trying to erase the memory of the tribe, we know several hundred tribal descendants remain in the area,” he said. “We definitely want to honor and support the efforts of their descendants to revive their culture, language and history.”

Charlene NijmehThe chair of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council said indigenous communities across America celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day not only to remember their ancestors, but also to recognize their struggle for survival, that of their land, culture and theirs Families is separated.

“Let’s use this day to remember our true story, let’s use this day to acknowledge the mistakes of the past so that we can begin healing in the present,” she said, “but most importantly, that we use this day to unite as a community of these countries to celebrate one another and the goodwill and friendship that exists between the people of Muwekma Ohlone and the city of San Jose and its citizens. “

While Columbus Day – which was celebrated on the second Monday in October – was declared a federal holiday in 1937 in order to partially curb discrimination against Italian immigrants, it is out of favor in many areas as a report on the treatment of indigenous peoples by researchers in the 15th century fallen America has become better known. However, many Italian cultural groups view the rejection of Columbus as a rejection of Italian contributions to society.

Ken BorelliThe vice president of the Italian American Heritage Foundation in San Jose said he viewed changing the holiday as a purely political decision and was surprised that the issue was picked up during a pandemic when a wider discussion could not take place.

“It is important to understand the story in all its complexity and not just from an ideological point of view,” he said in an email. “I think the only thing left is to find a way to honor the Italian-American heritage without getting into the ongoing debate about how to evaluate 600 years of history by 2020.”

For those interested, Borelli said the IAHF is holding a zoom program on Columbus with teachers and historians on October 15 at 7 p.m. Richard Di Giacomo, Author of “The Critics of Columbus: The Assassination of a Great Researcher”. More information is available at www.iahfsj.org.

SANTA CLARA PARADE RETURNS: Last fall, the Santa Clara Champions Parade returned after a 24 year absence, and the parade is back in virtual form this year to honor first responders and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of this year’s theme, residents were encouraged to create a display welcoming key workers in front yards, porches and windows. A “parade” will be broadcast live on Saturday at 11 am on www.scparadeofchampions.org. There is also a map that you can check on foot, by bike or by car.

FALL IN SOFA MUSIC FEST: I couldn’t believe my calendar when Fil Maresca I said it was time for the fall edition of SoFA Music Festival, which will be a virtual event like the spring edition in April. The big difference is that while the audience isn’t admitted yet, the bands play live on Sundays from 2pm to 8pm on five different SAn Jose stages – the Mexican Heritage Plaza, LvL Up SoFA, Music Ink Studios and some Outdoor locations.

The bands belong to this time The odd numbers, Love district, Great Soul Brothers, The beautiful and Casey Wickstrom. You can check the lineup and get access to all the shows on sofamusicfestival.com (with a donation of $ 5 to $ 25 going to the bands and venues).

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