On a Response to Columbus Day

Marlena Fitzpatrick, CEO Latino Rebels

Marlena Fitzpatrick, CEO Latino Rebels

We read your tweets. We read your comments. And of all the tweets we have received about a series of Columbus Day articles we published in the last 72 hours, it is this one that summarizes exactly why we chose to publish what we published:


We’re about freedom of expression, even if that means talking about uncomfortable, appalling issues. If we don’t take the power back, our right to talk about our history —even if the discussion includes devastation, genocide, rape, acquisition by force, reindoctrination of religious beliefs and mass extermination— the people in power will discuss it for us. In 2015, there are actual textbooks in Texas refer to slaves as “immigrant workers” claiming that:

Patterns of Immigration” describes “indentured servants who worked for little or no pay” but fails to describe the similar, if far worse, circumstances for slaves for who did not emigrate by choice.

The people in power brainwash us. They indoctrinate us. As Ana Tijoux eloquently stated in my interview with her yesterday, they colonize us, and then and make decisions for us, over and over again. Their overreach is so powerful, we’re oppressing the oppressed, instead of the oppressor. That’s the whole message of all the pieces we’ve published in the last 72 hours, including Jonathan Marconi’s op-ed, who by the way, is a solid, intelligent writer. After all, let me remind you in this day and age, only eight cities in the United States are calling our “holiday” Indigenous Day. The people in power made that decision. 

We MUST retake the rhetoric. This is NOT a debate, let alone a defense of Columbus. Those who claim Latino Rebels support Columbus didn’t read the piece entirely, let alone the rebuttals. They just read a tweet. And to be honest, they won’t read anything else, because it is so much easier to knock down than to be real part of the expression. Let’s retake the power to express ourselves.

Like one of our supporters said:

Let me repeat again how proud I am of you and @latinorebels- creating a platform for discussing differences in perspectives and opinions. This happens NO WHERE ELSE IN PROGRESSIVE media

And one of our opponents also said:

 I struggle when spaces I appreciate and vibe with give a platform and implicitly elevate modes of thought that devalue the irreparable damage done to Indigenous People. BUT, the decision to publish said pieces speaks volumes about giving writers a chance and also speaks to the need to create a meaningful dialogue outside of activist and academic spaces. We need to come to terms with what colonization means to us, how it shapes us today and how we can decolonize ourselves (not just in the ivory towers and in activists circles). All this to say, you do you, Latino Rebels. You are a rebel for a reason.

The only way to change the systematic imposition of this “holiday,” is by bringing all views to the forefront and ending this idiocy once and for all.

So, to our dissidents, I say #LatinoRebelsThinkPiece indeed. Think your pieces, write them, and let’s reclaim what was always ours. And yes, that includes publishing dissident voices.

Here are the pieces that were published:

October 9, October 10, October 12 (piece 1, a republish after writer asked us to post again), October 12 (piece 2)

Marlena Fitzpatrick is the CEO of LatinoRebels.com.