For Immediate Release:
October 7, 2019
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - email@example.com
It’s time to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day in D.C.
Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso ahead of tomorrow’s legislative meeting of the Council of the District of Columbia, where he will propose legislation to rename the holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”:
“For at least five years now legislation supported by a majority of the Council that would honor our native populations and rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been stalled by Chairman Mendelson without any public input or hearing.
“Tomorrow, along with Councilmembers Allen, Bonds, Cheh, Nadeau, Trayon White, and Robert White, I will put forth legislation that will force a vote of the full Council to finally do the right thing by ending the celebration of the misleading narrative of Christopher Columbus on the second Monday in October.
“This move is not controversial. Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, North Carolina, Alaska, South Dakota, Oregon, and at least 130 cities and towns have now renamed the holiday, according to the New York Times.
“This is not just a movement in other areas of the country—I feel it right here in the District of Columbia every single day. I get letters from students requesting the name change; I know many schools use the holiday to honor Indigenous People instead of Christopher Columbus; and frankly, it’s an accident of history that Columbus is honored in this way.
“Columbus Day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1937 despite the fact that Columbus did not discover North America, despite the fact that millions of people were already living in North America upon his arrival in the Americas, and despite the fact that Columbus never set foot on the shores of the current United States.
“Columbus enslaved, colonized, mutilated, and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas.
“We cannot continue to allow this history to be celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia. The government of the District of Columbia is clear that we are a government that values equality, diversity, and inclusion. Continuing to observe a holiday built on the celebration of oppression runs counter to those values.
“Already a majority of the Council has indicated their support to re-designate the second Monday in October through previous bills. It is my hope that we can come together tomorrow and honor Indigenous People and their rich history and cultural contributions with a “yes” vote ahead of October 14.”