There should be an Indigenous Peoples Day in New York State. It just shouldn’t be on Columbus Day.
Yet the push to replace the holiday that honors the explorer and celebrates both Italian-American heritage and Western civilization itself with one honoring native Americans is back. Some state lawmakers are promoting new legislation to make the change. Sadly, Queens’ own Sen. Jessica Ramos is among them.
The new push originates with a Democratic Socialist assemblywoman, Marcela Mitaynes of Brooklyn. But while some hard-left lawmakers think they can take extremist positions such as erasing Columbus Day without repercussion, Gov. Hochul surely does not. There’s no way she’ll risk alienating large swathes of moderate voters when she’s hoping to win an election to retain the seat she got when her predecessor resigned.
So this bill will be left on the shelf like it should be, like its predecessors were. And if someone wants to write new legislation just naming a holiday for native Americans, we’ll support it. Until then, we’ll stand with those who celebrate a man who lived 500 years ago, whose contributions to history were both massive and complicated, along with the contributions of Italian Americans to our city and nation. It’s time to stop reopening historical wounds and creating new rifts in the present day.