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Submitted to the Rocky Mountain News September 15, 2004

Dear Editor: 

I read with interest your recent story about the award of a parade permit to organizers of yet another Columbus Day Parade.  My interest was piqued, not because the permit was issued, but because of the relentlessness of the organizers of such a spectacle.  The organizers continue to pursue a “parade” despite the fact that after four years there are no revelers, there are no spectators.  The organizers still haven’t been able to comprehend that Columbus’ torture of millions of indigenous people he encountered when he arrived in this continent and his institution of the transatlantic slave trade aren’t the kinds of things most people celebrate.  Every group has had their own historical figures who have committed less than noble acts, but not every group insists on raising those figures up for special accolades.

Sure we can argue that the parade organizers’ right to have such a gathering may be protected by the First Amendment as it was the Klan’s right to rally at the State Capitol in the early 1990’s.  But is it right?  I don’t think so.  We can say this is only an Indian issue (and maybe their Latino sympathizers who acknowledge their Indian heritage), but how long before we realize this is a human issue.

If we are to end this, I call on all people of moral conscience, especially the Mayor and members of City Council, to give voice to their personal opposition to this spectacle of hate and racism.  Mayor Webb made such a statement opposing the Klan and we should expect no less from our current elected leaders. This may be a good time to recall Reverend Martin Niemoller words from 1937 in Nazi Germany and when he addressed the U.S. Congress in 1968,  he challenged our collective conscience to “speak out” because at some point there may be no one left to speak for us.


Adrienne Benavidez



©2004 Transform Columbus Day Alliance