ACLU of Colorado Seeks Details on Secret Agreement to Ban Reference to Christopher Columbus at Parade

Affiliate: ACLU of Colorado
September 29, 2000 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Colorado
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DENVER — The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado today calls for the full details of the Columbus Day parade agreement that prevents participants from using Christopher Columbus’ name or likeness at the event.

While the ACLU recognizes that private parties can bargain away constitutional rights, and even ask the government to enforce such agreements, it must be determined in the light of full information that the government has not coerced parties into the agreement.

In a negotiated agreement between the Italian Americans, the American Indians and the government, banners acknowledging Christopher Columbus were prohibited. References to Columbus through attire, printed materials, parade posters, media releases, depictions, parade floats, memorial wreaths, or speeches are prohibited as well in the agreement. Failure by the parade organizers to comply with the terms of this agreement would void the parade permit.

Parade organizers have told the ACLU that the negotiations were taped. In the midst of warring factions’ accusations regarding civil liberties, it is imperative that the government release all relevant information. We hope full disclosure of this tape will become public so that the role played by the various city, state and federal agencies becomes clear for all to see.

Access to this information will shed light on the nature of the alleged agreement between the Columbus day parade organizers, the American Indian Movement and the government.

The ACLU supports the First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly, both for the parade participants and demonstrators. We applaud the reported position of Denver Safety Manager Ari Zavaras who said that he has no intention of revoking the parade permit, even with the parade organizers vowing to make mention of Columbus.

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