NEW YORK (PIX11) — In New York City, the annual Columbus Day Parade returns Monday after a one-year, in-person absence attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. The parade is touted by some as the world’s largest Columbus Day celebration.
In May, Italian American activists complained after the Board of Education erased Christopher Columbus Day from the New York City school calendar, replacing it with “Indigenous People’s Day.” Following the outcry, the schools changed the designation to: “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supported the compromise. “We have to honor that day as a day to recognize the contributions of all Italian Americans, so of course the day should not have been changed arbitrarily,” he said.
About 35,000 people will march in Monday’s parade and officials estimate there will be more than 1 million people watching them. Organizers have asked attendees to wear masks.
Marchers and viewers are excited to be back in person, Marian Pardo, president of the Columbus Citizenship Foundation, said. “In 2001, we were the first large parade after 9/11. We had some trepidation about doing that, but the city asked us to do it as part of the healing process. And clearly, we feel that way now,” Pardo said.
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