The Los Angeles City Council approved an amended ordinance Friday replacing Columbus Day in October with Indigenous Peoples Day as an official L.A. holiday.
The council already debated the issue in August, when it asked the city attorney to draft the ordinance, so the vote in approval of the language of the ordinance was, in essence, a formality. The council still will have to vote one more time in a week before the ordinance officially passes because only 11 members were present and at least 12 unanimous votes are required for an ordinance to pass on its first reading.
“I want to thank all of the tribal members, the elders, the leaders, the advocates, the volunteers, the academics and friends — some gathered here today and some not — whose direct participation and sacrifice helped make this historic decision possible,'” said Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who introduced the motion.
By voting in approval of the switch, the council sided with critics who said the Italian explorer’s connection to brutality and slavery makes him unworthy of celebration, and it rejected pleas from leaders of the Italian American community who argued the holiday was a day of Italian pride and a recognition of their heritage.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, who at first expressed reservations about canceling Columbus Day and then in August made a late and unsuccessful push to have Indigenous Peoples Day take place on Aug. 9 and a second new holiday celebrating the diverse cultures of Los Angeles replace Columbus Day on the second Monday of October.
Buscaino, who is an Italian American, was not present at Friday’s vote.
“With or without Columbus, Italians will continue to celebrate their sacrifices and contributions to this great country and our great city,'” Buscaino said after the August vote.