Just days after Oberlin unanimously passed a bill to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day, Akron City Councilman Russ Neal is proposing his city do the same.
Seeing it as "a step toward healing," Councilman Neal plans to formally introduce legislation to change the name of the holiday in Akron during the council's next meeting on Monday, Sept. 11. He cited accusations of atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus against Native Americans and other groups after arriving in the Americas in 1492.
"As a result of the perpetuation of the slave trade, you had hundreds of millions of people that were killed," Neal said. "Now, Columbus didn't start the slave trade [throughout the world]. But the slave trade to the Americas? He started [that]."
Councilman Neal added the framework for the legislation has been being worked on since March, and that he plans to listen to people on all sides of the debate.
"When we earnestly come and share our opinions," Neal said, "we all share and we all grow."
Indigenous Peoples' Day has been celebrated as a protest against Columbus Day for decades. Several cities (including Berkley and Denver) have already passed legislation to officially change the name.