The school board in Loudoun County, Virginia, voted 8-1 Tuesday night to replace the federal holiday Columbus Day on the school calendar with Indigenous Peoples Day.
The board passed a proclamation, which charged that Christopher Columbus “opened the door to the destruction of the Indigenous People’s communities in the Americas.”
“He was personally responsible for the enslavement of the Taino tribe and the subjugation of the rest of the tribe in his blood-thirsty search for gold and riches,” said Ian Serotkin, a school board member representing the Blue Ridge district.
Opposition to Columbus Day has been growing across the country, and statues of Columbus have been among those vandalized in recent months during racial justice protests that followed after the deaths of Black men and women during interactions with police.
The school board proclamation said Loudoun County is a community that values diversity, equity, inclusion and history and that the day should be used to salute the “rich traditions and resilience” of indigenous peoples.
The school board also approved by a 9-0 vote on a comprehensive equity plan for public schools.
The equity plan aims to ensure “a racially conscious, identify-affirming, and culturally responsive learning space for every student and employee. “