‘Confederazione Siciliani del Nord America’ Meets in Atlantic City Sicilians of North America Unite to Create New Umbrella Organization
By Francesco Isgro
NOVEMBER 2007 -Several hundred delegates of Sicilian organizations from across the United States and Canada converged in Atlantic City, N.J. on the weekend of October 27, 2007, to officially inaugurate the birth of the “Confederazione Siciliani del Nord America” (CSNA), which attempts to bring under one umbrella the Sicilian diaspora of North America. The conference was presided by co-founder Marco Cangialosi, Chairman of the CSNA, and moderated by co-founder Agusto Sorriso. Other members of the CSNA executive committee who participated were: Tony Di Piazza, vice-president, Paolo Ribaudo, treasurer, Vincenzo Graci, Antonio Sciascia (Canada) and Antonio Avola (Canada).
Among the honored guests who participated at the opening proceedings were former Italian Minister and current Senator Enrico La Loggia, representative Salvatore Ferrigno, Santi Formica, head of the Emigration Office for the region of Sicily, First Counselor Marco Mancini from the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and a number of Presidents of the COMITES, including Melo Cicala of Washington, D.C.
President and CSNA’s co-founder Vincenzo Arcobelli noted in his opening remarks that CSNA does not intend to replace any of the exisiting Sicilian-American organizations, but rather it seeks to be an advocate for the millions of Americans who trace their roots to Sicily and to focus its attention on issues such as increasing ethnic awareness among the young. Arcobelli, who is also President of the COMITES of Houston and President of the InterCOMITES of North America, noted that the CSNA was also established to focus the various efforts of the individual organizations and to speak with one voice on important issues.
Among the highlights of the conference were the well-received remarks of Senator La Loggia, who urged CSNA participants to become an international lobbying group for Sicilians, noting that 50 million people worldwide trace their roots to Sicily. “That is an enormous power” that can be channeled to influence the course of affairs in Sicily, he said. In particular, he said CSNA should work toward creating a “new image of Sicily,” a new message. “Sicilians are not the Sopranos, the Provenzanos, the Riinias, etc. They are a very small slice of our population that constitutes the cancer to the development of Sicily and the devlopment of the name of Sicilians in the world. It is a cancer that must be eradicated,” he said, receiving a round of solid applause from the participants.
The official events culminated with a glittery evening Gala held at the Trump Plaza Hotel and attended by more than 700. The honoree was Sicilian actress and beauty Maria Grazia Cucinotta, whose most famous role was in the movie Il Postino. Also honored were businessman Peter Cardella, founder of the Cardella Center in Ridgewood, N.Y., NIAF president Sal Zizza, Canadian entrepeneur Lino Saputo and actor Ben Gazzarra. •
Photos by Vito Catalano and Francesco Isgro
Pictured above, Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Francesco Isgro. Photo by Vito Catalano.