Recognize Italian Heritage Day as a Cultural Holiday

Recognize Italian Heritage Day as a Cultural Holiday

September 1, 2020
Signatures: 2,723Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Italian Heritage Day

Italian Heritage Day already exists, with celebrations and parades throughout the nation. Now it needs its rightful name, in solidarity with, and support of, Indigenous Peoples' Day.


  • Establish Italian Heritage Day; a day of celebration for Italian-Americans, who, over the course of generations, have built a nationwide cultural community.
  • Remove the name given to what is effectively Italian Heritage Day, Columbus Day, in 1892 after the mass lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans.
  • In cities & states that have removed or replaced Columbus Day, recognize Italian Heritage Day as its own, new & separate cultural holiday.
  • Present the petition to politicians, especially Italian-Americans in office, to achieve recognition.
  • [further details]


  • The Italian-American community is rich and multifaceted. One man does not embody it.
  • Columbus Day is, at times, defended as an Italian heritage day. It should instead be recognized as just that, Italian Heritage Day.
    Columbus Day will inevitably be done-away with throughout the country, within the decade. Italian Heritage Day should be recognized for current & future generations.
  • Christopher Columbus was a historical figure who sailed for Spain, with a goal of arriving in Asia.  He never set foot in modern-day United States. He committed & oversaw atrocities against the indigenous people of the Caribbean, and was arrested & removed from his post by the Spanish crown.
  • This initiative is rare in contemporary politics, as it proves positive across the board. From those who want to celebrate Italian culture, to those who want to help to facilitate recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day, to those who have defended Columbus Day but understand that the public's opposition will see it replaced in the near future, with Italian Heritage Day presenting a new and welcomed celebration. A step forward for all sides to strengthen the community.

Ultimately, Christopher Columbus shares no relation to the modern Italian-American community. Upon arrival in the U.S., 19th & early 20th-century Italian immigrants were persecuted. In efforts to gain acceptance, we embraced the American mythological tales of Columbus as a hero. Today, we are the 5th largest ethnic group in the U.S., and Italian culture is beloved in the American story - on its own, without Columbus. Considering the long list of incredible Italians and Italian-Americans throughout history, we know that he is not our hero, and we, proudly, do not require him to uphold our culture.

The minority conflict for preserving his celebratory day unnecessarily pits the entire Italian-American community against the general public and the Native American community, and promotes Italian-American culture in a negative light. There is no movement to detract from Italian-American culture, and negative views on Christopher Columbus need not be perceived as attacks on Italian heritage. Resistance to this change does a disservice to the complex histories of Italian-Americans, Native Americans, and Christopher Columbus himself, forcing controversy rather than the open, in-depth learning that these histories should so receive.

Our own history in this country is all-at-once vibrant and dark, triumphant and repressed, joyous and dejected. So we celebrate our parents, our nonno and nonna, our zio and zia, and those before them. We celebrate those who brought with them a specific ambition, as well as those who came empty-handed; those without an ‘American Dream’ in mind, merely searching for sustenance beyond the lives they had, in the lands they knew. We celebrate the great many achievements of Italian-Americans, and the many more to come. We celebrate tradition, family, art, sport, cuisine, community and culture. We, the vast majority of Italian-Americans today, along with an American public that has embraced Italian culture and will be proud to festeggiare with us, are ready to celebrate Italian Heritage Day.

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Signatures: 2,723Next Goal: 5,000
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