Cleveland Councilman Introduces Resolution to Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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Cleveland Councilman Basheer Jones introduced an “emergency resolution” Monday to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The resolution calls on the City of Cleveland to recognize “the annexation of indigenous homelands for the building of our nation.”

“Citizens have a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards indigenous people in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education, and social crises,” the resolution states.

If passed, the second Monday in October would officially be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Cleveland.

Jones promoted the resolution during a Monday evening press conference on the front steps of Cleveland City Hall, where he said that “anyone has the right to celebrate whoever they want to celebrate,” but noted that “as a city we should not support that.”

“Everybody is free to support who they want to support, but as an institution we should not back that,” he continued.

“I want to make this clear: this is not about diminishing anyone’s culture. It’s about opening up and saying that indigenous people also have a right because this was their country before it belonged any one of us,” Jones added. “Even if I have to stand alone I’m fine with that.”

When introducing the resolution, Jones received pushback from Councilmen Matt Zone and Mike Polensek, both of whom are of Italian descent, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“One of the highest honors I ever had was in 2015 when I was the grand marshal in the Columbus Day parade,” Zone said, while Polensek said Columbus Day “is one day that Italian Americans can celebrate their heritage.”

The resolution urges Mayor Frank Jackson to “affirm that it is City policy to participate in the annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration and activities.”

“This Council urges other businesses, organizations, and public entities to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” it adds.

In order to pass, the resolution needs to receive support from two-thirds of the 17-member City Council, and must be approved by the mayor.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Basheer Jones” by Book A Muslim. Background Photo “Cleveland City Hall” by Tim. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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