Julia Marsh and David Meyer, New York Post, May 4, 2021
New York City schools have canceled the Columbus Day holiday, replacing it with an Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while also making Juneteenth a school holiday and getting rid of snow days altogether.
The city Department of Education called Oct. 11 “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the 2021-2022 calendar it posted on its website Tuesday, flagging the beginning and end dates for the school year as well as winter and spring recesses but not the big changes within in a tweet.
The move, which was announced, however, in a press release to education beat reporters, officially cancels for school kid recognition what remains a federal, state and city holiday on the second Monday in October — although the Indigenous Peoples’ holiday will give students and teachers the same day off.
In another first, the schools will be closed on June 20 in observance of Juneteenth, which celebrates the day in 1865 that black slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom.
The Italian explorer’s legacy has been hotly-contested in the Big Apple since Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a “Monuments Commission” in 2018 to reconsider statues of historical figures who’s past included connections to slavery or oppression. Hizzoner specifically cited the Midtown statue of Columbus when announcing the commission, but the monument remains.
The initiative eventually morphed into an effort to install statues of women — further enraging Italian Americans when Mother Francis Cabrini was excluded despite having received the most support in a public straw poll.
Juneteenth became an official state holiday last year following the protests against the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd.