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How to Talk About: IMMIGRATION 

How to Talk About: IMMIGRATION

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Immigrants bring important skills, labor, and contributions to our economy and cultu...

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Template Letter: Renaming Christopher Columbus Day

*PDF Download: Letter to School About Renaming Christopher Columbus Day

Many schools, towns, and cities across the nation are choosing not to honor Columbus Day–a holiday designated by Federal law to celebrate the founding of America and the bravery of the early explorers. Some on the left even want to change the name of the holiday to Indigenous People’s Day, which would essentially erase Columbus from the holiday all together.

Should we sit by and let this happen?

If you want to resist this change, here’s a template based off of a letter IW Law Center Director Jennifer Braceras wrote to her own child’s school officials explaining the folly of changing the holiday’s name and why celebrating Christopher Columbus is still worth doing!

Columbus Day Rename Template Letter

Dear _____,

My name is ____. My child attends _______. I write today because I just learned that you will be referring to October 11 as “Indigenous People’s Day.”

By federal law, the first Monday in October is designated as Columbus Day. This holiday is important not only to Italian Americans, who view Columbus as a symbol of ethnic pride, but also to Latinos, whose culture was born from the Spanish colonization of this hemisphere. It is precisely because this holiday is important to both of these ethnic groups that both Hispanic Heritage month (September 15 – October 15) and Italian American Heritage Month (October) incorporate the occasion.

But Columbus is more than a symbol of pride for Italians and Latinos. As the “first immigrant,” he is a symbol of all those who come to America in search of something more. As President Ronald Reagan once noted, Columbus Day is “a day to celebrate not only an intrepid searcher but the dreams and opportunities that brought so many here after him and all that they and all immigrants have given to this land.”

By dishonoring Columbus, we dishonor immigrants. Indeed, this was the intention of 1920s-era Ku Klux Klan, which spread anti-Columbus propaganda as a way to slander and target Catholic newcomers from southern Europe.

So, while I welcome the opportunity to celebrate native cultures and traditions, I must object when someone unilaterally alters the name of a federally designated holiday of great importance to other American ethnic groups and to all immigrants to the U.S.