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Italian American Group Pushes for Italian American Heritage Month
Fresh from its battle against the Italian American stereotyping on the MTV show “Jersey Shore” and the videogame Mafia Wars, UNICO, a national Italian American organization has launched yet another cyber campaign. This one is designed to get Congress to designate the month of October as National Italian and Italian American Heritage Month.
“UNICO National is calling on members of the Italian American delegation of Congress, and Congress as a whole, to establish the month of October as Italian and Italian American Heritage Month,” said UNICO National President Chris DiMattio. “Such efforts would help defuse unjust stereotyping, and make all Americans aware of the enormous contributions Italian Americans make to this country. It would also help educate many about how Italian culture enriches their lives, and makes them more aware of the greatness of our civilization and history.”
We hope so and salute UNICO for initiating this campaign! Read UNICO’s press release.
UNICO Press Release
UNICO NATIONAL LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO DESIGNATE OCTOBER AS NATIONAL ITALIAN AND ITALIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
FAIRFIELD, NJ --- After succeeding last year in having the State of New Jersey recognize October as Italian American Heritage Month, UNICO National’s Anti-Bias Committee has launched a petition-led campaign to designate October as National Italian and Italian American Heritage Month at the Federal level, UNICO National President Chris DiMattio announced.
“UNICO National is calling on members of the Italian American delegation of Congress, and Congress as a whole, to establish the month of October as Italian and Italian American Heritage Month,” DiMattio said. “Such efforts would help defuse unjust stereotyping, and make all Americans aware of the enormous contributions Italian Americans make to this country. It would also help educate many about how Italian culture enriches their lives, and make them more aware of the greatness of our civilization and history.”
A copy of the petition, which all citizens are encouraged to sign and return to UNICO’s Anti-Bias Committee is available at www.unicocalendar.org/whats_new_1.html.
Signed petitions should be mailed to Manny Alfano, 97 Irving Terrace, Bloomfield, NJ 07003. Citizens are also encouraged to contact Congressman William Pascrell (202) 225-5751, (973) 523-5152, Fax (973)-523-0637, Email: email@example.com and Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi (202) 225-5355, (614) 523-2555, Fax 202-226-4523. Website http://tiberi.house.gov
The successful campaign to designate October as Italian American Heritage Month in New Jersey was led over the past two years by UNICO Past National Presidents Kathleen Strozza and Andre’ DiMino as well as Manny Alfano, Chair of UNICO’s Anti-Bias Committee, who organized the effort. The measure received bi-partisan support and was signed by former Governor Corzine last October.
DiMino, UNICO’s Chief Media Executive and President of the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition, said it is urgent to have a national resolution passed at the Federal level permanently marking the month as Italian American Heritage Month.
“It is painfully apparent that Italian Americans are being subjected to increasing and accelerating attacks of negative stereotyping and denigration through the mass media. Now more than ever, we must fight back and put out positive messages of all the great things Italians and Italian Americans have done throughout history for this Country.”
Alfano, the founder of Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition, who monitors instances of media bias and stereotyping of Italians through his “Alfano Digest” that is emailed to thousands, added that such a measure at the Federal level should be a resolution, making it permanent.
“Obtaining the designation of October as our national heritage month allows Italians and Italian Americans to celebrate together and work to promote, protect and preserve their heritage and culture,” Alfano said. “Italian Americans are a vital piece of the fabric of the US and continue to make sizable contributions to all aspects of our culture.”
While being involved in, or sponsoring, many different educational and cultural programs each year, including the granting of scholarships and different achievement awards, UNICO National also promotes Italian American culture through a heritage calendar, celebrating and marking historical accomplishments and important dates of noteworthy Italians and Italian Americans.
The calendars make outstanding educational tools, and may be used in classrooms. A copy of the upcoming 2011 calendar may be obtained for $6 by calling 973-808-0035. Special pricing for fund raising is available. Checks should be made out to UNICO Foundation.
UNICO National is the nation’s largest Italian American service organization with local chapters throughout America. Founded in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1922, its volunteer members work to support charitable, educational, and service projects while promoting Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping.
Individuals that would like information on UNICO National and membership should call 973-808-0035, or visit www.unico.org.