Colorado passed a bill this week to replace Columbus Day with Cabrini Day in an effort to better represent the diversity of its community. It will now be the first paid state holiday in the country to celebrate a woman.
The holiday now honors Frances Xaxier Cabrini or Mother Cabrini, an Italian American Roman Catholic nun, revered for her work creating schools, hospitals, and orphanages in the Americas. She was the first US citizen to be canonized as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Her work is celebrated in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and countries throughout Latin America all places where she founded institutions. Senator Chris Hansen, one of the bill’s sponsor’s stated, “We need holidays to recognize the contributions of women across history.”
Although some women have gained days of recognition, this will be the first paid state holiday, a notable change in how states honor history. The holiday can now be celebrated in a positive light. Columbus Day nationwide is a controversial holiday and some states have stopped observing it. Campaigns of indigenous people and allies have demanded Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous People’s Day in a multitude of states. Representative Adrienne Benavidez, another bill sponsor, said it was a step forward in properly honoring history.
Legislation for the bill began in 2007 and now passed will take effect near August. The last step needed is the governor’s signature. He has previously stated he will sign it and is a supporter of the bill.
Sources: CNN 3/11/20; The Denver Post 3/10/20