It is fair to say that a majority of the American people has
very limited knowledge about Christopher Columbus. They know him
primarily as the man who supposedly discovered the continent of
America and who was said to be a heroic, visionary adventurer
who accomplished great voyages and endured great hardships.
Strictly speaking, Columbus is not the discoverer of America and
he did not even set foot on the American continent. Columbus and
his crew drifted ashore on one of the Caribbean islands. Strife
between the indigenous Americans and his crew, and subsequently
other Europeans, who swarmed to this new land after its
discovery and intensified the extermination and displacement of
the indigenous American, has been described in many books.
Depending on one's viewpoint, history views Columbus as a great
adventurer and hero or insensitive slave merchant who hauled
indigenous Americans to Spain and was the first European to be
responsible for the massacre of indigenous Americans. While it
is not our objective to pass judgment based on historical
'evidence,' the fact remains that Columbus has been the subject
of controversy for a long period of time.
In 1971 a new national holiday called "Columbus
Day" was created to commemorate October 12 as the day
Columbus supposedly discovered America. Is it proper to set up a
man of such controversy as Columbus as a national hero? Should
not there be a minimum criteria established before honoring
anyone with a national holiday? It is fully understandable to
honor the birthdays of the great presidents of America, such as
Washington and Lincoln. Historically the birthdays of these two
men were celebrated on separate days. However, in 1986 these two
holidays were combined as "President's Day" to provide
a separate national holiday in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr., the assassinated leader of the civil rights movement. Since
special days commemorating the contributions and achievements of
individuals are called national holidays, shouldn't at least one
of the persons so honored be of Native American descent or does
our lingering prejudice against Native Americans not allow such
To provide long overdue recognition to Native Americans
certain states have already taken the initiative by changing
"Columbus Day" to "Native American Day".
However, there are no more national holidays left to honor the
achievements of individuals of other races or other races. And
rather than starting or continuing a cycle of ill feeling
towards each other by removal of recognition to honor others
where recognition is due or by perhaps withholding recognition
due to the lack of additional holidays it is proposed to take
such recognition one step further by honoring all the races that
make up and have contributed to America.
We are herewith proposing to change "Columbus Day"
to "Multi-Cultural Day" in the hope that the U.S., a
melting pot of all races, will continue to develop into a nation
where all races can live in harmony. Let's make this a day where
all races and cultures can stand shoulder to shoulder, having
learned from injustices and cruelties against each other in the
past, and strive for peace and harmony and a healthy symbiotic
relationship. By creating such a national holiday in America, we
can spread the seeds of such idealism.
Globalization was the thing of the 20th century and now that
we are in the new 21st century, we must think of the welfare of
our planet Earth rather than just individual nations.
Selfishness of individual nationalism leads to environmental
degradation, if not war, and cannot be tolerated if this Earth
is to survive for future generations. When we raise our level of
consciousness above the nationalistic level to the welfare of
the planet, differences based on race, skin color, customs,
cultures, and religion will become inconsequential and will not
hamper the harmony and peace of all mankind.
In conclusion, we hereby ask for your support in replacing
"Columbus Day" with "Multi- Cultural Day,"
in respect for all races and their cultures. This is a simple
first step towards establishing true peace and harmony on EARTH.