City’s defeat of plan to rename Columbus Day makes sense

Matilde Cascella, Associate Editor

I have nothing against school holidays. They mean an extra day off and time that I get to share with friends or family. What I feel is a waste of calendar space are days like National Boyfriend Day, Flag Day or Columbus Day.
When the Baltimore City Council debated changing the name of Columbus Day, I couldn’t help but think “who cares?”
I have never been given a day off for this “holiday” so why now is it imperative to change the name of just another Monday?
Historically, Columbus Day was created to celebrate the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World Oct. 12, 1492. The day did not become a federal holiday until 1937.
I can justify that people should celebrate their heritage, and that Christopher Columbus was a crucial element to the discovery of “The Free World.” But, I can’t justify that the day named to celebrate such an event should be taken to offend people. According to bill creator Brandon Scott, the day should have been voted to be renamed to “Indigenous Peoples Day.”
“We shouldn’t celebrate terrorists,” Scott said to the Baltimore Sun, “That’s what celebrating Columbus does.”
Scott believes that changing the name to “Indigenous Peoples Day” would honor the people that inhabited North America prior to European invasion.
I’m not denying that those who this country originally belonged to should be compensated for one of the largest forgotten genocides. But, is renaming a day that has virtually no meaning really the best way to honor such a large group of people?
I don’t agree with Scott on his likening of Columbus to a terrorist. In an abstract way I can understand the relation but I also think that Columbus is tremendously important and should be celebrated just as much as the indigenous people. After all, none of us would be here without his sailing of the ocean blue.
Our council could have been spending their hours debating some more important topics, such as the high rates of homelessness and drug abuse in our city, rather than changing the name of a day that nobody celebrates.
If we want to honor indigenous peoples, we have a lot more work to do. The day’s overall lack of importance and influence just shows how disrespectful it would be to use it as an honor.