Rebellion After Randolph Board of Education Cancels Columbus Day

A New Jersey Board of Education in Randolph, N.J. removed Columbus Day from their school’s calendar and replaced it with “Indigenous Peoples Day.” They did so to be inclusive, and without publicizing that this change was being contemplated.  Two minutes were given to the matter.

When word got out, a furor ensued among the community, including Italian-Americans and members of the Knights of Columbus.  Many spoke in protest at the next BoE meeting.  Here is one such protest.

“It’s been 529 years since Columbus found a new world.  Now, you want to remove his memory, but are not exactly clear why.   You reported acting because other places have done so.  Really?   What is clear is that in the half a millennia that since passed, we’ve lost much of what he did, what he looked like, or even where he’s buried. 

We all know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Social Media has given a huge megaphone to those who previously stood on soap boxes.  They find others and together demand cancellation of whatever.  Surrender incites the mob to ever more extreme demands.  I speak today because someday, they will come for me. 

Unfortunately, seeing Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln -- and more -- get attacked, it doesn’t surprise that Columbus is blamed for Native Americans dying over the next 400 years from diseases like Smallpox because they did not have natural immunity.

As an American, I feel pride that our founding fathers -- including Washington and Jefferson -- birthed a new form of government, where all men are created equal.  This ideal has bettered humanity around the world. Columbus’ discovery was the moon-landing of his era.  So, will Neil Armstrong be blamed for all the litter accumulating on the moon? 

Our nation had a founding stain.  President Lincoln’s blood and that of the 750,000 -- mostly men -- who died in our Civil War washed away slavery.  Today, Americans continue to shed blood for others.  The tree of liberty is watered by the blood of patriots.  Two members of my family died in service.  God rest all their souls.

Speaking as a Catholic Knight of Columbus, his removal offends many in our order.  We were named after him because of rampant, anti-Catholic bigotry in the 1850s.  President Kennedy felt it a hundred years later.  It is seen, still, today.  Bigotry, even soft bigotry, is never acceptable.

In 1790, President Washington wrote to the Jewish Community of Newport, RI, “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.  For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection be good citizens.

Replacing Columbus to celebrate the Indigenous might be seen as Red skin being preferred to the ‘almost black’ skin of Mediterranean Peoples like Spanish and Italian.  My many Italian friends have told me it insults all of them.  They feel Columbus and his explorations exemplify their rich history, as Saint Patrick does for the Irish.  Lowering the Italians will not raise the indigenous. 

An Italian declared crossing the Rubicon important.  The Randolph Board of Education should consider whether removing Columbus reflects: scholarship, a lessening of knowledge, or a Politically Correct bashing of America and its idols out of fear.   I do hope you reverse your decision.  Thank you.”

Here’s the next part of the story.  Immediately after the last speaker sat down, the Board of Education considered what they had heard from the community. They thought the feedback valuable.  It then voted to remove all mention of any holiday, replacing all with “Day Off.”  Christmas, Martin Luther King, Memorial Day… all will be known as “Day Off.”

The members of the audience were stunned.  The audio of the meeting has members shouting, “What is happening?”  What did you just do?”

News of this decision exploded, locally and nationally, reaching even England and India.

A special meeting of the Randolph, NJ Board of Education has been called.  It is anticipated that even more of the community will attend.  They are seeing how much elections matter -- perhaps even especially to local Boards of Education as our children are our future.

Mike Czuchnicki has consulted around the world after a Technology-Executive career.  He is a speaker, author, and founder of the YouTube channel, “Be More Better”.   Help others.  It helps you too.

Image: Pixabay

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