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2nd Annual Anti-Columbus Day Tour Replete With Tensions

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

The second Monday of every October is a day some people may refer to as Columbus Day. Yesterday, a group of more than 300 people fighting to rename the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, gathered for the 2nd Annual Anti-Columbus Day Tour at the American Museum of Natural History.



Tensions quickly escalated when tour attendees encountered a small group of people on the front steps of the museum who were rallying in favor of not only Christopher Columbus but also President Trump.


A middle aged woman of Italian heritage who was part of the pro-Columbus group vocally praised Columbus’s expeditions while waving Italian flags in the air.



“Viva Italia! Viva Christopher Columbus! Viva Isabella!” the woman said.  “If it weren’t for Christopher Columbus, we all wouldn’t be here today. There wouldn’t be a new world. We’d be stuck in Europe or Asia, or other filthy places. Anyone who hates Columbus hates Christianity and the development of the entire globe.”


While many were visibly upset and either walked away or said a few words in disagreement, Loaiza Yari di Rivera, from the Borikua Unity and Power Outreach, remained firmly standing despite the opposition.


“I know that we’re not going to change history,” said Rivera. “We’re not going to take back everything that happened, but by fighting for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the removal of Columbus statues, and the renaming of Columbus Circle, we are changing the way we look at each other and bringing awareness to the way we are currently oppressing and violating the rights of indigenous people.”



Despite the clashes, the tour proceeded as planned. The main organizers for the tour were from Decolonize This Place, a space that is action-oriented around indigenous struggle, black liberation, Free Palestine, global wage workers and de-gentrification. They continued to fight and press for for their three demands: to rename the day, remove the statue, and respect the ancestors.


“Puerto Rico and Standing Rock, we will continue to think of and fight for you,” said Rivera.



all images taken by Grace Moon

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Grace is currently a senior at New York University majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. Although born in California and raised in Dallas, Texas, Grace considers Seoul, South Korea to be her home sweet home. At school, Grace serves as the Editor-In-Chief at Her Campus NYU, President at Freedom for North Korea (an issue very personal to her), and Engagement Director of the Coalition of Minority Journalists. She is currently interning at Turner's Strategic Communications team while serving as a PA at CNN. In her free time, Grace loves to sing jazz, run outside, read the news, go on photography excursions, and get to know people around her-- hence, her passion for conducting Her Campus profiles. She can be reached at: gracemoon@hercampus.com