I am proud to say that the Tzedek Chicago board has just approved a statement endorsing an ordinance by Chi Nations Youth Council proposing that the City of Chicago officially replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day.
You may remember that Chi Nations graciously hosted us in their garden for our Sukkot program last month. It is truly our honor to stand in solidarity with them.
Here is the text of our statement:
Tzedek Chicago calls upon the City Council of Chicago to immediately pass the ordinance, submitted by the civic society organization Chi Nations Youth Council, calling for the abolition of Columbus Day as a legally observed city holiday and to replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day.
As this proposed ordinance makes clear, the official celebration of Columbus Day perpetuates “the ongoing systematic racism towards Indigenous Peoples residing in the United States.” We know from history that the actions of Christopher Columbus - and the legacy of European colonization of the Americas that he represents - have resulted in the near extermination of the first peoples of these lands and have led to centuries of ongoing policies and practices that constitute an ongoing genocide of their descendants.
As a Jewish congregation committed to the work of decolonization, we have already added the observance of Indigenous Peoples Day to our sacred calendar. We strongly believe this important ordinance will positively “promote public awareness of the diversity, accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.” We are proud to stand with Chi Nations Youth Council in their efforts and invite other faith communities throughout the city to join us in supporting their important ordinance.
Rabbi Brant Rosen