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Columbus

The fight of our lives

We are stronger together than apart. There is no greater testament to that fact than the multiethnic coalition that has rallied to reverse the Chicago Board of Education’s decision to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The removal of Columbus Day is not just about Italian Americans. On the evening of Feb. 26, while most of us were welcoming home our children from school or sharing dinner with family or friends, the Chicago Board of Education usurped Columbus Day. Poof. It was gone faster than your Nonno could pinch your cheek and let go. And why? Because the community ...

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The NEA got it right!

I write in response to André Dimino’s article “Hey, NEA! No Way!” about the NEA’s resolution concerning Columbus Day. First, let me establish my bona fides to address this issue. My father, maternal grandfather and maternal great-grandparents were all born in Italy — every drop of my blood traces back to Italy. So, I am as Italian as one can be. I am also a teacher of 26 years experience, and for the last 18 years, I’ve been a dues-paying, rank-and-file member of the National Education Association. In fact, for 17 of those 18 years, I’ve held some kind of ...

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The NEA blew a teaching moment

When the Representative Assembly of the National Education Association recently voted in favor of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it offered precious little by way of justification. Here is the full text of its resolution: “The National Education Association believes that the history of colonization needs to be recognized and acknowledged in every state. To do so, the Association believes that the name of the current holiday known as ‘Columbus Day’ should be renamed and recognized as ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ in recognition of the early indigenous peoples who were living in the United States before colonization by European ...

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America’s shrine to Columbus

As paesani of the most notable sailor of all times, many Italian Americans want to shout “Basta!” to the annual assaults upon the reputation of our great hero, Cristoforo Colombo. Isn’t it time to hear something positive about ol’ Chris? Well you can if you go to Boalsburg, a picturesque town in central Pennsylvania. Little Boalsburg — population 3,700 (some 570 miles southeast of Chicago) — is home to the Columbus Chapel, which the Philadelphia Inquirer has called one of our country’s “most meaningful monuments to Christopher Columbus.” Part of the home in which Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain, in ...

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Hey, NEA! No way!

At its 2019 National Convention, the National Education Association (NEA) passed a resolution to have Columbus Day renamed Indigenous Peoples Day, stating, “As an education association, recognizing, observing, and celebrating factual history is important to maintaining our academic integrity.” Really? Come on! How hypocritical. The current onslaught of politically correct hysteria foisted upon the Great Discoverer is just plain false. Shame on the NEA for being complicit in this nefarious conspiracy to obfuscate the facts and perpetrate the rewriting of history. So, NEA, let’s look at actual FACTS. The New World was no “Garden of Eden” when Columbus arrived. Slavery, ...

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First men: The Journeys of Columbus and Armstrong

As mind-boggling as the first lunar landing was, Columbus’ feat was its equal or better in terms of the magnitude, danger and significance. On July 20, 2019, much of the world will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by American astronaut Neil Armstrong. The event has been celebrated in the movie “First Man,” which opened last year on Oct. 12, the true anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Without diminishing Armstrong’s incredible ride and personal courage, Columbus’s feat would equally deserve the title “First Man.” Unlike Armstrong, he did not travel into the ...

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Community leaders decry Columbus ‘cover up’

The Italian-American community has reacted with dismay to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to enshroud a series of 12 murals depicting the life of Christopher Columbus. “This is another example of revisionist history and a slap in the face to all Italian Americans,” says Italian American One Voice Coalition spokesperson André DiMino. “I implore the president of Notre Dame to reconsider his decision and not give in to the hysteria of the moment. Italian Americans celebrate Columbus’ achievement of uniting the continents.” “This is not the first time that Christopher Columbus has been under attack,” says NIAF Vice Chair John ...

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Rep. DeLuca saves the day!

It’s amazing what someone can accomplish with a little passion and diplomacy. State Rep. Anthony DeLuca’s recent defense of Columbus Day is a shining example. As we all know, annual celebrations of Columbus have been under assault for decades, with cities and states across the country either flat-out eliminating them or supplanting them with celebrations honoring Native Americans. The latest major municipality to deep six Columbus Day was Los Angeles, where the city council voted 14-1 to replace it with Indigenous People’s Day following a fractious public hearing that attracted national media attention. But here in Illinois, our celebration still ...

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Answering Columbus’ critics

  Spanish philosopher George Santayana once noted that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. When it comes to Columbus, the Italian-American community seems condemned to have history rewritten right out from underneath it for the same reason. To be fair, backing Columbus has been a no-brainer for much of the last century. His mind-boggling accomplishments had earned him the adoration of Americans in general along with a special place in the hearts of Americans of Italian descent. Defying conventional wisdom as well as outlandish odds, he sailed west toward the Indies and into the great unknown. In doing ...

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Learning from history

  In the column I wrote last month about widespread efforts to blot out Columbus Day, I touched upon a game-changing encounter that took place a quarter of a century ago. In July 1991, Native- and Italian-American leaders entered a room as adversaries and left as allies who embraced each other’s cultures and supported each other’s causes. As a result, peace reigned over Chicago’s quincentennial Columbus Day celebrations. But how exactly did this remarkable détente occur? For the answers, I turned to its principal architect: Dominic DiFrisco. A gifted public relations professional and talented mediator, he served as president of ...

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