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As an abolitionist seeking justice, it is my duty to request that we rename Columbus Day to something else. Personally, I prefer the name “Woot! America’s Got the History Day!” for various reasons (which can be seen here). But really, what I care about is gloriously pivoting this holiday in a way that declares evil on this level cannot nor should be tolerated–then or now–in a manner that brings us together rather than separates us.
This is my question–as modern abolitionists, what is our role when it comes to public holidays, teaching history to our kids, and creating awareness to end human trafficking in the here and now? Does the past still affect today?
Introducing the Slaver, Christopher Columbus
Today is Columbus Day, a holiday in honor of a pretty notorious guy. He found himself in the Caribbean and proceeded to let his men (or give his men) local women to use, brought slaves back to Spain, and required impossible amounts of work from the indigenous populations. Through this slavery–both labor and sex trafficking–he killed off the whole population of one of the indigenous people groups he conquered.
Ironically, he was actually captured and arrested because he was just so vile (within a group of vile men), but then his king actually pardoned him and paid for him to go back to the Americas (so much for justice rendered)!
Instead of passively teaching our children that this is okay by leaving Columbus Day untouched, it is time we do something. After all, we are also trying to teach out kids that they can be agents of change to end human trafficking (get this first dialogue free to help you)!
Considering, I wrote an article on HuffPost for you to check out and hopefully, share. Here are some pieces of it.
The Glorious Case For Why Columbus Day Should Become Woot! America’s Got The History Day!
With both fanfare and fluster I’m making a case here and now for why we should change Columbus Day to “Woot! America Has The History Day!”
My kids can sing you a catchy little ditty about Columbus sailing to the Americas in 1492, on the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María. (Confession: Even I find myself humming it while doing the dishes, but we’ll keep that our little secret.) But this version of history shouldn’t be paramount to my children’s education as a song, let alone as a holiday.
Personally, I feel like I’ve bested Columbus with all the exploration stuff and yet I haven’t been bestowed an Elisa Day (a joyous celebration in which kids have three days weekends after cutting-out and coloring paper minivans to proudly place on the lower right half of their fridge).
Although, I also don’t make a habit of conquering the people I visit, and then enslaving, raping and murdering their families. If that is the type of explorer I have to become to get a holiday, I’m out.
I like to think, though, that the reason I haven’t been bestowed a U.S. holiday is less sinister—I just haven’t been exploring outside of the United States.
And just one more snippet to whet your appetite:
However, I can also see renaming Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day going topsy-turvy. Consider other protests of late (ahem, like standing vs. kneeling during the National Anthem). Too easily a message is lost when half the population feels the counter-option steals or devalues something.
We all have labels. For example, I'm a wife, a mom, a follower of Jesus. I've worked for non-profits. I am a reader and a writer. Can I give you more labels? I'm an adventurer! I'm a creative! An extrovert!
How do you define yourself? We all have our labels, but the one thing we have in common is that we are simply people trying to love others and are learning how to do that well. Together, the love bursting and flowing (or sometimes fighting) from us is changing the world!
Like you might be, I’m a busy parent, a leader of some, and I even burnt-out while doing world changing things (surprise!). I re-calibrated. I’ve brushed-off, grown a little, and now use my experiences (both the good and bad) to continue empowering you to make a difference–but while also guiding you be more fully alive. Sound good? > Let’s do this!
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