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New Haven Community Talks Columbus Day

Some people are ready to celebrate Columbus Day, while others are pushing for greater acceptance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

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There was a festive mood as people gathered in New Haven on Sunday outside what has been known as the Christopher Columbus Family Academy.

Earlier this year, the school board voted to rename it.

“I think that’s a great start. This is supposed to be a sanctuary city. Let’s make it a real sanctuary city. Let’s let people know they are welcome here. And that goes for not just changing the name of a school but changing policies and practices,” said CJ, Unidad Latina en Accion.

For years, people had been pushing for the change. And it led to the district also replacing Columbus Day on the school calendar with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

“I feel like it’s time for the people in the country and any other country in the continent to give the real representation for the Indigenous community because we still here and we’re still fighting for our rights,” said John Lugo, Unidad Latina en Accion.

Also on Sunday, people came out for an event in Wooster Square Park.

It took place near the pedestal where a Columbus statue used to stand and where wreaths were laid this weekend.

“In history, there’s been a lot of leaders and figures all throughout history. They have both good and bad. Christopher Columbus was a pioneer,” said Eric Mastroianni (R) – Candidate for Legislature.

Back in June, the city’s park department removed the bronze statue of Columbus amid growing controversy.

“Many of us feel we can’t base our lives on what happened 500 years ago versus we learn from our past moving forward. We do want to be very inclusive and make sure that we include everybody,” said Laura Florio-Luzzi, Wooster Square Monument Committee co-chair.

Now, a committee is figuring out what should replace it.

“This will always continue to be a celebration of Italian heritage. It’s very important to us, very important especially to the Wooster Square community but all over,” said Bill Iovanne, Wooster Square Monument Committee co-chair.

If you have an idea of what should replace the statue, Monday is the deadline to get that in. The mayor said the city is trying to find a way to appropriately honor Italian-Americans.

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