Books & Current Events: Columbus Day is Dead, Long Live Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Italian Heritage Month

Thank you Howard Zinn

Thanks to the great Howard Zinn (and no thanks to my grade school teachers) I was disillusioned of Christopher Columbus before I left my twenties.HZ

And now an increasing number of cities and states are changing the second Monday in October from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Seattle, WA & Minneapolis, MN); to Native American Day in South Dakota; and Discoverers’ Day in Hawaii.

According to the Pew Research Center, “only 23 states give their employees Columbus Day as paid holiday.”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Italian Heritage Month

Though some people are upset about the dwindling number of people who are interested in celebrating Christopher Columbus, and that more cities and states are adopting an alternative celebration for the day, there is no reason that Americans can accept the awful truth about Christopher Columbus and cease having a day of celebration in his name and celebrate the day instead for indigenous people. The month of October is already celebrated for Italian Heritage, and American Italians have numerous of other reasons to celebrate and be proud of their heritage than having the specter of Christopher Columbus hang over this month. With renouncing the second Monday in October as Christopher Columbus Day and renaming it officially to Indigenous Peoples’ Day during Italian Heritage month would show recognition and solidarity.

 

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In Memoriam Gabriel García Márquez

I recently listened to Gabriel García Márquez’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech for
100 Hundred Years of Solitude from 1982. His words were eloquent and his description of this spectacular work seemed to, not only provide insight into its essence, but also, into our individual lives. I felt like sharing a transcription of a paragraph from his acceptance speech and two videos of Gabo to celebrate him as a gift to humanity.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: [translated] “The country that could be formed of all the exiles and forced emigrants of Latin America would have a population larger than that of Norway. I dare to think that it is this outsized reality, and not just its literary expression, that has deserved the attention of the Swedish Academy of Letters. A reality not of paper, but one that lives within us and determines each instant of our countless daily deaths, and that nourishes a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune. Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable. This, my friends, is the crux of our solitude.” From Gabriel García Márquez’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1982