It is painful to even type these words, but today Boston Mayor Kim Janey decided to stomp on the faces of Italian-Americans and everyone who loves history by abolishing Columbus Day in the City of Boston.
For most of my life, I have been proud to be from Boston. Starting when I was a teenager, I enjoyed exploring the different neighborhoods, cheering on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Pats, visiting all of the T stops throughout the city, and photographing the various buildings, landmarks, and public art. But no more. The city of Boston has betrayed me. When someone inflicted horrible pain on me and on the rest of the Italian-American community by brutally ripping the head off of the Christopher Columbus statue, the city of Boston responded by doing nothing to comfort us or even to acknowledge our loss. The city of Boston responded by taking away one of the few good things remaining to us, thereby compounding our pain and rubbing salt in our wounds. The city of Boston responded by rewarding, not punishing, the people who inflicted this horrible pain. To say that these actions are mean, unjust, and completely lacking in empathy is an understatement.
Clearly, the city of Boston does not value or welcome people like me. Instead of being proud to be from Boston, I am now ashamed to be associated with it. Any enjoyment that I once derived from spending time in Boston is gone.
There are no words adequate to fully express the moral wrongness of Janey’s actions regarding Columbus Day. Every atom in my body screams in agony at the injustice of this situation. So instead of writing words of incoherent rage, I will share a strongly but civilly worded email that I wrote to her earlier today:
I am writing to express my hurt, anger, and disappointment at your executive order to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. This executive order is an example of something that has been far too common over the past year and a half – actively inflicting harm and pain on one group of people for the benefit of a different group of people that happens to be politically favored. This executive order takes away a holiday that is important to Italian-Americans, thereby excluding us from what is considered worthy of honoring and celebrating in the city of Boston. This is discriminatory, intolerant, and completely antithetical to the ideas of diversity and inclusion.
Over the past year and a half, the Italian-American community has really been hurting due to the dozens and dozens of vicious attacks on statues of Christopher Columbus, one of our cultural heroes. In particular, the beheading of the Columbus statue in Boston inflicted horrible pain on me as an individual and on the Italian-American community as a whole. Your executive order inflicts further pain on me and my fellow Italian-Americans by taking away yet another important part of our culture and heritage. Additionally, your executive order rewards the people who destroyed the statue by establishing a holiday in their honor.
In conclusion, this executive order sends the message that inflicting harm and pain on people is a good thing that deserves to be rewarded and celebrated. It sends the message that people like me are not welcome in the city of Boston. It sends the message that some people’s feelings matter, while other people’s feelings do not; that some viewpoints and perspectives matter while others do not; and that some cultures matter while others do not. Hopefully you agree that these are not good messages to send. I respectfully ask you to reconsider your hurtful and exclusionary executive order and reinstate Columbus Day.