Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Penn.) is facing a lawsuit from several Italian-American civil rights groups, as well as a member of his own city council, over his administration’s decision to formally change the holiday Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” as reported by ABC News.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, and declares that the mayor “may not take action that discriminates against Italian-Americans to exalt another ethnic group in its place.” The lawsuit points to other efforts by Kenney to remove historical monuments and commemorations of great Italians, which it says is proof of a systematic pattern of discrimination against Italian-Americans. Among these examples are the city’s efforts to remove a Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia, as well as the successful removal of former mayor Frank Rizzo from City Hall.
The suit, which includes among its plaintiffs Councilman Mark Squilla, also points to the mayor’s efforts to designate certain neighborhoods throughout the city as “priorities” for receiving coronavirus vaccines ahead of others, which it claims further discriminates against predominantly Italian-American neighborhoods in favor of other minorities.
Columbus in particular has been a target of the Left for many years, with some falsely claiming that he perpetuated genocide against Native Americans, among other falsehoods. But to many Americans, and especially Italian-Americans, Columbus has long been hailed as a hero for his dangerous journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, which led to the discovery of the Western Hemisphere and the American continents by Europe. Efforts to target Columbus and other historical statues spiked in the aftermath of the race riots last summer, with the explorer being among many whose statues were vandalized or destroyed over the year by far-left domestic terrorists.
In his statement announcing the holiday’s name change, Kenney declared that Columbus’s legacy was “deeply complicated,” and baselessly accused Columbus of having “enslaved indigenous people, and punished individuals who failed to meet his expected service through violence and, in some cases, murder.”
Responding to the lawsuit on Tuesday, Kenney called it “a patently meritless political ploy,” and claimed that it would only “waste precious resources at a time when we are trying to both deal with a devastating pandemic and work to build a safer and more equitable city for all residents.