ACLU Calls for Openness about Columbus Day Compact
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2000
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) calls for the full details of the Columbus Day parade agreement to be made public. In the midst of warring factions' accusations regarding civil liberties, it is imperative that Government release all relevant information. Access to information will shed light on the nature of the alleged agreement between the Columbus day parade organizers, the American Indian Movement and the government.
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. 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.
"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" Said ACLU Executive Director Sue Armstrong.
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 that he has no intention of revoking the parade permit, even with the parade organizers vowing to make mention of Columbus.