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Chronology of Events Concerning [Transform] Columbus Day


American Indian Movement of Colorado announces a four-year educational campaign to explain why Columbus Day and Columbus celebrations are harmful to American Indians. 


1990  Federation of Italian American Organizations (FIAO) announces the resurrection of the Columbus Day Parade after over a thirty-year absence. Colorado AIM asks the FIAO not to name the parade after Columbus; FIAO refuses AIM's request. Immediately prior to the parade, Colorado AIM initiates dialogue with FIAO representative, Frank Macri. FIAO invites Colorado AIM to lead the parade with all of its counter-Columbus signs and banners. AIM agrees to lead the parade, provided FIAO agrees to meet to discuss the possibility of changing the parade's orientation. FIAO agrees to the meeting, but in mid-October cancels, saying that it will re-schedule at a later time. No dialogue is initiated by FIAO, nor is an alternative meeting date suggested. 


1991  FIAO sponsors another parade. Colorado AIM again requests that the parade name be changed. FIAO fails to respond until the days immediately preceding the parade. FIAO offers for AIM to lead the parade again. AIM declines, citing the agreement the previous year, and reminding the parade organizers that they agreed to reschedule the dialogue. FIAO proceeds with its parade, and Colorado AIM blocks the parade route. Four AIM members (Russell Means, Ward Churchill, Glenn Morris and Margaret Martinez) are arrested. At trial in June, 1992, all defendants are acquitted on all charges. 


1992  500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage. Colorado AIM again requests the parade organizers to change the name of the parade, the FIAO again refuses. Seven mediation sessions are established, being facilitated by Mayor Webb, the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. No resolution is achieved. In the final CRS session, one of the FIAO reps interrupts AIM rep, Glenn Morris, and says: "Listen, this is not your country anymore. This is our country now, and you'd better get with the program." The talks fail, and over 3500 AIM members and supporters gather to confront the parade. At the last moment on the day of the parade, the FIAO cancelled its parade, but held a small rally on the capitol steps. At AIM's victory celebration at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park, FIAO rep A.J. DiAngelo makes a statement that "the Federation of Italian American Organizations wants to initiate a dialogue, so that we don't have to meet in the streets of Denver next year." No dialogue is ever organized by FIAO. 



No Columbus Parade takes place in Denver between 1992 and 2000.

2000  C.M. Mangiaracina and George Vendegnia decide to resume the Columbus Parade. Colorado AIM contacts the Justice Department CRS to facilitate a dialogue regarding the parade. Several sessions are held, and an agreement is reached that the Columbus Day Parade will be changed to the March for Italian Pride. AIM agrees that such a change will prevent it from protesting the parade. All sides seem satisfied, and an agreement to that effect is signed on September 19, 2000, by the parade organizers, AIM, Escuela Tlatelolco, Barrio Warriors, the City of Denver, the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and the Community Relations Service. Eventually all parties expect AIM/Escuela/ Barrio Warriors breach the agreement. The parade is blockaded by AIM and its allies, and 150 people are arrested. The charges are later dropped by the City.


2001  Parade organizers plan another Columbus parade. AIM requests a name change from the parade organizers. AIM's request is refused. Because of the World Trade Center bombing, only a small parade of twenty school children reciting the rosary is held. On the other hand, AIM and the Transform Columbus Day Alliance hold the first All Nations/Four Directions March. Over 2000 people participate in an event that proves that respectful cultural celebrations can take place in Denver, with members of every race, every religion, every ethnic group. 


2002  Colorado AIM again requests the Sons of Italy - New Generation to change the name of the Columbus Day Parade.


2003  Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu and Richard Castaldo Ask for End to “Celebration” of Racism and Violence

2004  The Blockade of Convoy of Conquest -- over 200 arrested


©2004 Transform Columbus Day Alliance