PHILADELPHIA – City Councilmember Mark Squilla and dozens of Italian American groups have sued Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration in federal court for changing the name of the city’s Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, according to report reports in The Philadelphia Inquirer and other news outlets.
“While both groups’ ethnicity deserve recognition, Mayor Kenney may not take action that discriminates against Italian Americans to exalt another ethnic group in its place,” said the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court.
The suit accuses Kenney of discrimination against Italian Americans and asks the court to declare Italian Americans a protected class. In addition to Kenney’s executive order renaming the October holiday, the suit cites last year’s removal of the statue of former Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank L. Rizzo outside the Municipal Services Building, as well as the city’s efforts to remove the Christopher Columbus statue from Marconi Plaza.
“It just so happens that these days we have a mayor who’s completely lost his way and is bent on humiliating and disgracing the Italian-American culture of Philadelphia, and we’re not going to put up with it,” attorney George Bochetto said. IAH