More than 20,000 sign ‘Cancel Columbus Day’ in Atlanta petition

Los Angeles and Seattle are just two of the few U.S. cities that have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.

And Atlanta activist Sarah Rose hoped Atlanta would be next.

Rose, the woman who successfully campaigned for the installment of permanent rainbow crosswalks in Midtown in June, is behind the new petition for the Atlanta City Council to cancel Columbus Day.

Despite gaining more than 20,000 supporters, the petition was unsuccessful. This year, Columbus Day falls on Monday, Oct. 9.

"For over 80 years, the U.S. has celebrated Christopher Columbus with a federal holiday in his name. But Columbus did not 'discover' America: he pillaged it and brutalized and enslaved its people. It is time to stop honoring him," Rose wrote on the Care2 petition.

The petition lists some of Columbus' most brutal acts against Native Americans revealed in his own letters and in letters of men who accompanied him, including cutting off hands of Native Americans over the age of 14 who didn't bring him enough gold and giving his lieutenants women to rape as a "reward."

Those are just a few of his many horrific acts, Rose wrote.

Credit: Hulton Archive

Credit: Hulton Archive

As of Monday morning, 20,255 people from all over the country and world signed the petition, but it gained only 146 Atlanta supporters.

“Atlanta is often called the “city too busy to hate,” Rose told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Nedra Rhone. “This Care2 petition represents that sentiment and helps move the city towards honoring truly honorable people and not those unworthy of historical adoration.”

Care2, which touts itself as "the world's largest social network for good," is also hosting a national petition asking Congress to remove Columbus Day as a national holiday.

That petition has garnered more than 110,260 signatures as of Monday.

The opposition to Columbus Day, which was first proclaimed a national holiday in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is nothing new, according to

In the 19th century, anti-immigrant groups in the U.S. rejected the holiday due to its association with Catholicism. In recent decades, however, Native Americans and activist groups have objected to the celebration of something that indirectly led to the genocide of indigenous peoples.

Six U.S. states (Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont) don’t recognize Columbus Day at all, but Hawaii, Iowa, South Dakota and Vermont have replaced the second Monday in October with an alternative holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day.

Multiple U.S. cities such as Austin, Texas; Berkeley, California and Denver, Colorado, have done the same.

And in many Latin American countries, Columbus' landing is often observed as the Dìa de la Raza ("Day of the Race") or Dìa de la Resistencia Indìgena ("Day of Indigenous Resistance") to honor the diversity of Hispanic culture and recognize the native peoples and their history.

Learn more about Christopher Columbus and the holiday at