DENVER, CO — The Colorado House today passed a bill to remove state recognition of Columbus Day, a holiday named after the perpetrator of numerous crimes against humanity, and instead create a holiday that recognizes humanitarian Frances Xavier Cabrini. The new holiday would be the first state holiday named after a woman and would honor Cabrini’s tireless work on behalf of Colorado’s children. The bill was approved by a vote of 37-26.
“I’m glad to finally see the House vote to end our state’s recognition of a holiday that brings pain to indigenous people in Colorado every year,” said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez (D-Adams County). “I’m proud that we were able to get this done after so many years trying — this is a momentous day. I’m especially glad that at the same time as we ended our recognition of Columbus, we were able to take a step towards establishing the first state holiday in Colorado to honor a woman.”
“I’m proud to see the House vote to set the historical record straight,” said Rep. Kyle Mullica (D-Northglenn). “The legacy and memory of Columbus are a very present source of pain for many communities in our state, and I’m glad we took a step towards putting this pain behind us.”
HB20-1031 would establish Cabrini Day on the first Monday in October as a state holiday. It would be a paid holiday for state employees, and the bill would remove state sanction of Columbus day, which occurs one week later. The holiday would recognize Cabrini’s humanitarian values and lifelong dedication to service, especially to the Italian American immigrant community, who faced discrimination and difficulty as they immigrated to America. She worked tirelessly to support the Italian-American community in the United States, including through several projects in Colorado.
In 1904, Cabrini established Denver’s Queen of Heaven Orphanage for girls. In 1910, she founded a summer camp for the orphanage’s residents in Golden, Colorado. Currently, a shrine stands in her honor in the original location of the summer camp in Golden. The shrine includes the “Stone House”, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Columbus Day is one of the few holliday’s named after a person, and its continued existence perpetuates the pain and suffering he inflicted. He was responsible for the kidnapping, rape and murder of thousands. Over 50,000 indiginous people commited suicide rather than comply with his rule, and within two years of his landing in the bahamas, over 125,000 people died, half the population. The bill aims to end the state sanctioned pain this holliday
The bill passed on Third Reading this morning; the bill will now move onto the Senate.