Protests in Colorado over Columbus Day celebration in Pueblo

Protests taking place in Pueblo 10/10/22
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 1:16 PM MDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2022 at 5:41 AM MDT
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - The controversial celebration of Christopher Columbus Day returns to Pueblo amid concern over rising tensions between supporters and protesters of the holiday.

Observed annually at the Christopher Columbus Piazza on Abriendo Avenue, the event has become less a celebration of the Italian explorer that’s credited with discovering America in the 15th century, and more of a battle between people who want to keep the holiday and those who say Columbus is a symbol of colonialism, exploitation, and racism.

A big point of contention surrounds the Columbus statue that’s been a focal point in Pueblo since 1905. Opponents of the monument have been calling on the city to remove it from public display, preferring it be placed in a museum. But those in favor of keeping the statue, including the national organization The Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, say Columbus is an integral part of America’s history and signals the beginning of collaborative efforts between Europe and the new world.

In 2020, the city of Pueblo hired a mediator in an attempt to resolve the dispute over the Columbus monument, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement, leaving an ongoing conflict among residents.

Columbus Day is no longer recognized by Colorado as an official state holiday, with many cities opting to observe Indigenous Peoples Day instead. In 2020, Colorado’s general assembly voted to replace Columbus Day with Frances Xavier Cabrini Day. Cabrini was a humanitarian champion of immigrants and children in the U.S. who first came to Colorado in 1902.

KKTV had a crew at Pueblo’s event on Monday, but our team had to be escorted from the immediate area due to safety concerns.