Every year we celebrate the discovery of America by an obscure merchant loosely tied to Spain and Italy, Columbus. Since becoming a federal holiday in 1937, America has drastically changed as well as historical evidence that he wasn’t the First Man of America. Eric the Red and a slew of others may have stopped by as well. According to Money magazine, the holiday is a working day for 84% of businesses. It’s generally federal and municipal workers and school children that receive the free day off. It costs our governments millions for this day that commemorates a falsehood. Why do we continue to celebrate a day that doesn’t represent our population nor the truth of discovery? It’s time we change this second-tier holiday and re-purpose it for all Americans. Let’s review new options.
A Real Veterans Day
Veterans Day is a non-paid holiday in which millions of veterans are forced to go to work. Currently, there are 20.4 million veterans that fought for our country yet can’t have a commemorative paid day off. Several cities allow veterans to take a vacation or personal day off for 11-11 but is that fair? Why should a veteran use their vacation day to celebrate and commemorate their service to this country? Columbus, Ohio has taken the plunge to change Columbus Day to Veterans Day. A paid day off for their veterans, city workers and schoolchildren. This is a favorable option as we are all related and connected to a veteran and the freedom they’ve given us.
Indigenous to America Day
Over 70 cities across America celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in stead of Columbus Day. It celebrates the people who were slaughtered, enslaved and destroyed by Columbus and Westernization. A day that teaches to remember the horrors of the past not the present or future. If we are going to have a holiday that only remembers horrors, then why don’t we have national Holocaust Day? How can we turn a national celebration day into a slaughtered remembrance? There isn’t a person in the world that hasn’t been taught to let go of the past to move forward with the future. If we need to celebrate the indigenous people, it should be Native Americans. They were and continue to be destroyed by high alcoholism, drug abuse, lack of employment opportunities, reservation inequities, imbalance of tribal restorative justice and more. We should celebrate their ability and ingenuity to maintain a semblance of their traditions, people and will to work against westernization. They are an incredible people who are truly indigenous to America. They didn’t show up on a boat, they welcomed people on our shores. All of them should have a day off just like our vets.
What day do we get off of work and school related to the incredible work of women? Not of women, how about just a woman? None. We didn’t even vote a woman into the White House yet half of the working population are women. Why not a Cady B. Stanton Day? Ida B. Wells Day? Or the illustrious Eleanor Roosevelt? As more women continue to join the ranks of politics we may see a day like this sooner than later. We could make at least one federal holiday which our taxes are used to sponsor named for a woman or women. It would be an incredible feat to actually create equality in holiday celebrations. Find out more about women’s equality day here.
American Immigration Day
Federal holidays are constantly named and celebrated for specific religions (Christmas) or people (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington and Lincoln). Why not create another holiday that celebrates and supports our diversity? According to a Brookings Institute study, anywhere between 14.8-4.7% of the US population is foreign-born. How many generations do they have and then become related to immigrants of America? Somewhere down the line, all Americans except for Native Americans, are related to immigrants that braved treacherous travel, diseases and homelessness to make you an American. It’s not about the brown, black and yellow immigrants that so many seem preoccupied about-it’s about us as a nation. We are the melting pot and we can celebrate our diversity as a people descended from risk takers, and America’s makers. Some may say we do this on the Fourth of July but that’s different. On the Fourth we celebrate our birth as a nation not necessarily the greatness it has become. We don’t specifically celebrate diversity, it’s just implied.
Just Go To Work
As cities, towns, states and even the federal government struggles financially, we could all just go to work and save millions in payroll costs. That’s the option for millions of workers as earlier stated. If everyone can’t get a paid day off then it’s an unequal holiday for the nation. McDonald’s and Wal-Mart workers aren’t off but the State Department is? Until federal holidays can be an equalizing force in representing all people and letting all people off, Columbus or not, it’s not a holiday.