Guest Op-Ed: Don’t Let Acting Mayor Kim Janey Erase Boston’s Italian Americans

By Denise Furnari and Justice Chair Diane Modica

Acting Boston  Mayor Kim Janey has unilaterally decided to change Columbus Day in Boston to  Indigenous Peoples Day and will announce it today October 6, 2021 at 2:30  PM at Boston City Hall.  We need your support and your voice in the ongoing battle to preserve Columbus Day. Please attend  or call City Hall 

This is outrageous! First of all, this is being done with absolutely no advance notice or contact with the Massachusetts Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America or its Commission for Social Justice which has been working day and night to educate local cities and towns about the false claims and outright lied being made against Columbus. The Italian Americans of Boston deserve more respect than this cheap shot.

For decades in October, the City of Boston has held the annual Columbus Day Parade for the entire city to share in Italian music, food, and culture and to honor the accomplishments of Columbus.  East Boston and the North End,  where many of the city’s Italian immigrates first settled,  shares hosting duties in alternate years. Because of COVID the parade has not taken palace in 2020 or 2021.  But Janey is setting the table to do away with it altogether.

Columbus is not only an Italian American icon, but a positive symbol for many Americans including many Latino neighbors in East Boston who celebrate the holiday and attend the parade.

 Italian Americans have no fight with Indigenous Peoples. We acknowledge the historic mistreatment they have endured. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Taking away from Italian Americas something that was hard earned and paid for with the blood of many Italian souls is just plain WRONG!

There are numerous historic records that tell the stories of Italians who were lynched throughout the nation in the last 1800’s.   Even prejudiced national media seemed to approve of it from actual coverage in the papers!  The selection of Columbus to honor and celebrate the contributions of Italians to America emerged from those tragedies as Columbus Day.  Close to 1.5 million Italian Americans, the largest ethnic group serving across all U.S. armed forces,   fought in WWII to defend this nation. We stand on all of their shoulders as well as our parents and grandparents who had the courage to come to this country giving us the life we now have. . Will you be the voice of those who came before  us? .

Please call Boston City Hall hot line before the announcement at  2:30 tomorrow  at 617- 635- 4500 and  Mayor’s office  617-635-3151 and let Mayor Kim Janey know you  are angry and will not stand by and  allow Columbus and Italians to be  dismissed and disrespected.  You can also e mail her at  [email protected] opposing any  replacement of Columbus day  in Boston on the second Monday of October each year.  Press Contact Diane Modica 617-835-8484.

Statement of Mass. Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America President Denise Furnari  and Commission for Social Justice Chair Diane Modica.

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