DENVER — At the Christopher Columbus statue in Civic Center Park on Monday, Denver tour guides perhaps said it best: “Next year if you come here on the same day you might be here on a normal Monday.”
Indeed the debate regarding the future of Columbus Day is intensifying in Colorado.
While Colorado was the first state to celebrate the holiday in 1907, this year might be the last as more and more states eliminate Columbus Day after reviewing the explorer’s past.
“We have seen states across the country say we will no longer honor Columbus Day,” State. Rep. Leslie Herrod, a Denver Democrat, said Monday.
Already Denver celebrates today as Indigenous Peoples Day.
Happy #IndigenousPeoplesDay Denver! 🙌🏾 Join me in celebrating the ever-present culture, heritage, history and contributions of Native Americans in the Mile High City and across our nation. Because of them, we are.
— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) October 14, 2019
Lawmakers at the State Capitol confirm to FOX31 plans to re-introduce an effort in 2020 to replace Columbus Day with Colorado Day.
Colorado Day is typically celebrated in August — which would mean a day off then.
But Columbus supporters vow to keep fighting.
“We are confident this will not be the last Columbus Day,” Paul Lonigro, a member of the Sons of Italy Lodge in Wheatridge.
“Columbus, during his time, wasn’t really doing anything that anyone else wasn’t doing,” Lonigro said. “He is a great explorer, an Italian American and a way that we as Italians can celebrate our history.”
The General Assembly will take up the debate in early 2020. In 2019, an effort to change Columbus Day failed in the State Senate.