Things That Matter

Los Angeles City Council Votes To Replace Columbus Day With Indigenous Peoples Day

In a landmark move, the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday in favor of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday in the city of L.A.

The motion, which won in a near unanimous 14-1 vote, was originally submitted to the Los Angeles City Council back in 2015 by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. Los Angeles now joins Seattle, Minneapolis, Santa Cruz and Berkeley, as well as five states, in replacing Columbus Day (Oct. 9) with Indigenous People’s Day, as reported by CBS Los Angeles.

In the initial motion, Councilmember O’Farrell wrote:

Native Americans are descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who were the original inhabitants of this continent. One way to recognize the enormous historical contributions of Native American heritage and Indigenous People is through celebrations of culture, recognition of traditions, and the continued support of artistic self-expression. The City of Los Angeles has a rich and unique history and diversity represented within the indigenous population residing here.

Councilmember O’Farrell called Indigenous Peoples Day a “fitting holiday that we can all be proud of,” and expressed his joy in making “history in Los Angeles.”

In a statement following the vote, he said the reasons for replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day are “clear” because the “historical record is unambiguous, referring to the atrocities that came after the arrival, and at the hands of, Columbus in America. He also encouraged people to Google Columbus if they weren’t aware of this history.

“Today is a moment where we took a step that is righteous, that is just, that is healing and that is historically clear,” he said in his statement. “Only when we acknowledge the truth can we heal.”

Watch Councilmember O’Farrell’s full statement below:

Indigenous Peoples Day will remain a paid holiday for city workers. Major pushback on the holiday came from members of the local Italian-American community, who felt that removing Columbus Day from holiday calendars meant erasing their heritage. Columbus was Italian.

The Los Angeles City Council responded by making Oct. 12 Italian-American Heritage Day.

The city council hearing was packed with supporters of the new holiday.

When the vote came through, supporters jumped from their seats in celebration.

Indigenous groups also celebrated the victory with dance and prayer inside City Hall.

The support on Twitter has also been strongly in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day, with many seeing it as the positive step towards healing.

But, more importantly, some see it as a way to correct history.

While there have been some haters online, the major sentiment on Indigenous Peoples Day is pride.


READ: Why The NoDAPL Movement Has A Deeper Meaning For Me As An Afro-Indigenous Caribbean Latina

Like this story? Then spread the word by clicking the share button!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Virgen de Guadalupe Mural Was Vandalized In Los Angeles And The Community Is Devastated

Things That Matter

This Virgen de Guadalupe Mural Was Vandalized In Los Angeles And The Community Is Devastated

La Virgen de Guadalupe means so much to so many. Especially the Latino community in Van Nuys, California, near Los Angeles, which is reeling after an important mural depicting La Virgen was vandalized overnight.

Although security cam footage captured an unknown man defacing the mural, the suspect is still at large and the community is asking for help in finding out who committed the vandalism.

A suspect was caught on camera destroying a mural with La Virgen de Guadalupe.

The community of Saint Elisabeth Church near Los Angeles is asking the community for prayers after a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe was vandalized on church grounds. 

The parish’s security system recorded video footage of an unknown man dressed in black approaching the mural with a sledgehammer at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday morning. He can be seen smashing the tiles that make up Our Lady’s face several times before fleeing.

On Friday, April 23, Father Di Marzio led a prayer service, which was livestreamed on the parish Facebook page. Some 30 parishioners gathered to sing and pray a decade of the rosary in front of the mural, which is roped off with caution tape, while nearly 100 others joined online. In closing, Fr. Di Marzio encouraged parishioners to “continue to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us, and to touch the heart of the person who did this.” 

Also on Friday, a local artist, Geo Rhodes, was scheduled to visit the mural and discuss a plan for repair, arranged by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “We hope that soon we will restore the image, or have a new one more beautiful than the one we had before,” Fr. Di Marzio said.  

La Virgen de Guadalupe is extremely important to the church.

The hand-painted tile mural stands between the church and the rectory. It was installed over 35 years ago as a “symbol of community unity,” said business manager Irma Ochoa. Each square tile was sponsored by a parish family. Overlooking a small altar, the mural has become a popular place for parishioners to pray and light candles, asking Our Lady for special blessings. 

“I feel an unspeakable sadness,” said Fr. Antonio Fiorenza, who is in residence at the parish. “But I feel pity for the one who made this sacrilegious gesture. I pray for his conversion and for all those who show contempt to the Virgin Mary.”

To donate to the restoration fund, visit stelisabethchurch.org

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Indigenous Purépecha Woman Gets Full Ride Scholarship To Attend Harvard

Things That Matter

Indigenous Purépecha Woman Gets Full Ride Scholarship To Attend Harvard

In just a few months, college freshmen will be descending on their campuses across the country. One of these students is Elizabeth Esteban who is the first person from her indigenous tribe in Mexico to be accepted to an Ivy League school.

Elizabeth Esteban is going to Harvard and it is a major deal.

Esteban is a member of the Purépecha tribe, an indigenous community from Michoacán, Mexico. Esteban is the first member of her tribe to be accepted into an Ivy League university, where indigenous representation remains small. Esteban’s parents work as farm laborers in the eastern Coachella Valley in California.

“Well I felt proud and excited, every sort of emotion because I never would have believed that a person like me, would be accepted to a prestigious university,” Esteban told NBC News.

Not only was Esteban accepted into Harvard, a prestigious university, she also received a full-ride scholarship. Esteban’s family is part of a community of hundreds of Purépecha people who relocated to the easter Coachella Valley in search of work and a better life.

Esteban plans to study political science.

Dr. Ruiz Speaks with State of the Union Guest, Elizabeth from Desert Mirage High School.

Join me for a live conversation with my guest for tonight's State of the Union, Elizabeth from Desert Mirage High School!

Posted by Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Esteban wants to make a difference in her community. As an indigenous woman, Esteban wants to break barriers that are set on women in her community. She told NBC News that her community expects for women to stay home and be stay-at-home mothers.

The incoming Harvard freshmen was discouraged from applying to Harvard at one point because of her community’s unreliable internet connection. Esteban lives in a mobile home with her family in Mecca and struggled to complete course work. The internet went down in the middle of her Harvard interview and it almost prevented her from applying to the university.

“Well, I felt proud and excited, every sort of emotion because I never would have believed that a person like me, would be accepted to a prestigious university,” Esteban told NBC News about being accepted to Harvard on a full scholarship.

READ: California, Harvard, MIT File Lawsuits To Challenge Government’s International Student Visa Announcement

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com