A few weeks ago, Ward 4 councilman Russ Neal created a proposal for the city of Akron to distance themselves from Columbus Day. This news came around the time when Oberlin dropped Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, though not everyone in Akron was as gun-ho about a potential change.
In fact, in the city council chambers, the topic and corresponding votes were divided among racial lines, with all of the black council members voting ‘yes’ to drop Columbus Day.
Though he understands Neal’s concerns, Ward 2 councilman Bruce Kilby voted ‘no’ on the measure. Kilby spoke on the Ray Horner Morning Show of the “contentious” atmosphere in the chambers, and how the measure appeared to be more divisive than helpful and progressive. Kilby says he does not mind instilling an Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but is not in favor of ditching Columbus Day, either.
Kilby also said he was glad they voted on the measure when they did so they can “put [the issue] to bed.” He feels racial lines in the Akron area have been “pretty good” when compared to other major cities, especially in recent memory.
Councilman Neal also joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to recap the meeting and vote. Neal believes the decision to retain Columbus Day in Akron is “disheartening,” but claims the discussion will continue.