“On Columbus Day,” the proclamation says, “we honor the skilled navigator and man of faith who President Benjamin Harrison described as a ‘pioneer of progress and enlightenment’ whose spirited voyage transformed the western hemisphere and inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions in the face of seemingly insurmountable doubts and adversity. ”
“We don’t want anything to happen to the Christopher Columbus statue,” said Angelo Vivolo, president of the Columbus Heritage Coalition, adding that immigration of Italian-Americans would not have happened if Columbus hadn’t connected the two worlds. “It talks to us about courage, discovery, about all the positive things — the meting pot that Americans believe in.”
San Francisco Italian American groups launched a referendum campaign Thursday to reclaim the former Columbus Day as “Italian American Heritage Day” following a Board of Supervisors decision last month to rename it as Indigenous Peoples Day.
The board voted 10-1 in January in favor of the name change. The national holiday was named in honor of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering the Americas but also with contributing to Native American genocide