PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– After a one-year hiatus, the popular Columbus Day Parade will roll down Liberty Avenue here at 11 a.m. tomorrow.
Over the past few years, anti-Columbus demonstrators have come to the parade.
This year, the protesters pulled a stunt, handing out flyers that falsely say the parade was canceled.
Thousands of Pittsburghers enjoy this parade every year. This marks the 33rd year of the Columbus Day Parade.
But, then came word according to the flyer that the parade was canceled. That came as a big surprise to parade organizers:
“The parade has not been canceled. The parade will be on as scheduled Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. here in Bloomfield,” says Guy Costa, parade organizer.
Anti-Columbus protesters have lined the parade route for several years. Among other things, they say Columbus didn’t discover America.
Kalen Tierney says, “By honoring Columbus, we’re not telling the true story of him actually setting in motion the transatlantic slave trade and then a massive genocide of native people.”
Tierney is part of an anti-racism group known as What’s Up Pittsburgh.
“Why not honor an Italian who has not a complicated legacy, but one who is a brilliant person, but uncomplicated like Leonardo Davinci,” says Tierney.
Parade organizers say the parade is less about Columbus and more about heritage.
“You can get into the pros and cons of Christopher Columbus. We, the Italian-American community, we use Columbus Day as a way to celebrate our proud traditions, our Italian-American heritage.”
As for the bogus flyers, Tierney tried to justify them.
“People are carrying on a parade that’s saying there’s some certain kind of truth about Columbus, other people are saying some sort of kind of truth that the parade is canceled.”
The parade is still on.
Some parade organizers say they’d like to change the name to Italian Heritage Parade, or just heritage parade.
But there is a split in the Italian community about whether to keep the long-held name: Columbus Day Parade.