Protestors, supporters disagree on meaning of Columbus Day

Michelle San Miguel, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau/Telemundo Anchor, michelle.sanmiguel@krdo.com
POSTED: 07:21 PM MDT Oct 14, 2013 

Protestors, police and Columbus Day supporters all gathered in Pueblo Monday morning. Protestors and supporters had different ideas of what the day represents.

Italian-Americans came to pay tribute to their ancestors at the Columbus Monument in Pueblo's Mesa Junction. Across from them, a crowd of protestors chanted, "No More Columbus Day."

Members of the Sons of Italy Southern Colorado Lodge said the day is a tribute to their ancestors, many of whom came to Pueblo in the early 1900s to work at the steel mill. They laid a wreath on the monument to commemorate the day.

"My grandfather first came over in 1905 and he came over with nothing and because he came over, my family has had a better life," said John Obrin, president of Sons of Italy Southern Colorado Lodge.

Abolish Columbus Day protestors, however, said Columbus Day should be referred to as Native American Day or Día de la Raza.

"We are not against the Italian community," said Rita Martinez, organizer of Abolish Columbus Day. "They can pick another day to celebrate and it's not about degrading their culture. It's the person that they honor."

Pueblo police said the event was peaceful. No arrests were made.